The body of the late Taib at the atrium of DUN Complex. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Feb 22): Grieving Sarawakians from all walks of life converged at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here this morning to pay their last respects to the late Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Mahmud.

The former Yang di-Pertua Negeri passed away at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur early yesterday morning. He was 87.

The casket bearing Taib’s remains arrived at the atrium from his residence in Demak Jaya at 7.50am, accompanied by his children Jamilah Hamidah, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, and Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.

Taib’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib arrived at around 8.20am.

Members of the public began gathering from as early as 8am to pay their respects while state and federal leaders are expected to arrive from around 10am onwards.

Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is expected to be among the dignitaries attending at the funeral.

Abang Johari pays his last respect to Taib. Also seen is Bekir (right). – Photo by Roystein Emmor

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg arrived at around 9.25am while accompanied by State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki.

Also present to pay their last respects were Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and wife Toh Puan Fauziah Mohd Sanusi, Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, Utility and Telecommunication Minister Dato Sri Julaihi Narawi, Works Minister Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi, Deputy Minister in the Premier of Sarawak’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, other ministers and deputy ministers as well as state elected representatives and members of parliament.

Wan Junaidi (centre) and Fauziah (fourth right) are joined by Abang Johari (second right) and state cabinet ministers and deputy ministers as they pay their final respects to Taib. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen were also among those who joined community leaders, corporate leaders, members of associations and non-governmental organisations, civil servants and the public in paying their respects to Taib.

Wong greets Sulaiman after paying his last respects to Taib.

Serian MP Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem when met said Taib’s demise marked the saddest day in history for Sarawak.

“He was our former chief minister for such a long time and then later appointed as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

“He has done so much for Sarawak and Sarawak is what it is today because of him,” he said.

Dr Sim (front row, fourth left) and his wife Datin Amar Enn Ong (front row, fifth left) were among those who came to pay their last respect to Taib. – Penerangan Photo

Former Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie said he was fortunate to have served under Taib during his tenure as the chief minister.

“I learnt a lot from him and I’m also very thankful for how he has developed and brought stability to our state. He laid a good foundation for Sarawak’s future.

“Personally, I’m also grateful to him for bringing me into politics where I ended up serving 20 years in politics. So you can say that he shaped my life in a very significant way,” he remarked.

The casket bearing Taib’s remains leaving for Demak Mosque before the state burial. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

At 11.35am, the casket, which was wrapped in the Sarawak flag, was carried by officers from the military and the police, and then brought to the Demak Mosque for prayers before the state burial at Taib’s family cemetery in Demak Jaya.