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Harmonious Society Taib's Greatest Legacy
KUCHING, Feb 28 (Bernama) -- Many people will agree that a harmonious society in Sarawak is the greatest legacy of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who stepped down today as Malaysia's longest-serving chief minister.
"The many races (in the state) accept each other naturally, working together and co-operating in making Sarawak a better place," said Sarawak Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn in his tribute to Abdul Taib, 78, who was the chief minister from 1981.
Abdul Taib, who handed over the post of chief minister to Tan Sri Adenan Satem, 68, is scheduled to be appointed as the next Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sarawak effective Saturday.
Abdul Taib had taken over the post of chief minister in 1981 from his uncle, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'kub, at the age of 45.
Sagah said the harmony and understanding among the many races, each with its own religion, language and culture, had allowed for smooth economic and social progress.
He commended Abdul Taib for his far-sighted approaches and politics of development which he said had enabled the state to progress tremendously.
He said that under Abdul Taib's administration, the gap in the living standard between the urban and rural population had been narrowed.
"We hope that under the new chief minister (Adenan) our state will progress further," said Sagah, who is the state assemblyman for Tarat.
Sagah said he was confident that Adenan was capable of continuing Taib's legacy.
He said Adenan, as the minister of land development, had helped a lot of NCR (native customary rights) landowners to get their land surveyed and titles issued.
"It is a happy multiracial society that has become the foundation for peace, stability and economic development and Taib has, by his words and actions, played a key role here," said political analyst Datuk Peter Minos.
Minos, who is a former publicity chief of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), said nothing could have worked if there was racial or religious trouble as was happening in some countries.
"We have seen, read and heard how well Taib had dealt with religious issues and those fanatics trying to stir trouble in Sarawak. What he did was great and Sarawakians love him for that," said Minos, a Bidayuh who is chairman of the Bung Bratak Heritage Association (BBHA) and a former chairman of the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA).
On the economic front, Minos said, he witnessed Taib bringing about rapid urbanisation, opening up rural land for development and bringing in the roads and other utilities and facilities in both the urban and rural areas.
"He capped it all by creating Score (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) where big industries are and will appear," he said, adding that Sarawak needed all these for its increasing population, to meet the demand for jobs as well as opportunities and prosperity for all.
"It has been hard, especially in rural development, (given that Sarawak is a huge state) but Taib has done it and has prepared the people for the future by setting up colleges and universities.
"That is Taib. He looks into the future while working on current matters and issues. He has vision and knows how to get it actualised. All these need brains and grit, as well as guts and determination.
"You cannot but salute the man. Thus, in both the political and economic fronts, Taib has done very well," he said.
Minos said that on the political front, Abdul Taib had shown that political competition allowed by democracy was not a barrier to co-operation among all parties for the good of Sarawak.
"By his style and wisdom, he has kept the state BN (Barisan Nasional) together even though things in SUPP (Sarawak United People's Party) and SPDP (Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party) did not work too well. Taib did it very well in PBB, nurturing a culture of unity, respect for the leadership and discipline," said Minos.
He said Abdul Taib knew exactly what to do in PBB, resulting in the party being solid, united and always going forward with a clear purpose, and when political problems arose he had the brains and guts to handle things.
"Even some opposition people and severe critics are missing Taib, now that he is leaving the political scene. Nobody can fault a man who has spent a good part of his life for public service, doing and trying his best and putting in all his energy and effort.
"Ask ourselves who apart from Taib could have handled Sarawak politics any better. By getting in Adenan as the new chief minister, Taib knows what legacy really means. A good leader replaces himself by getting in an equally good successor," he said.
"Many in Sarawak are already saying that Adenan will do and lead well and Taib should be happy of that. And we look forward to an able and capable man in Adenan in leading Sarawak," he added.
Meanwhile, the Anglican Church in Sarawak has come out to commend Abdul Taib for his bold stand on the use of the word 'Allah'.
Southeast Asia's Anglican Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok expressed the hope that Abdul Taib's successor would maintain the spirit of inclusiveness which Sarawak had enjoyed under Abdul Taib.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had praised Abdul Taib for having provided excellent service to enable the BN administer the state for a long time.
He had also said that PBB, as the principal partner of the Sarawak BN, had made the coalition strong and more united and contributed much to the state through various development projects.
Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri Richard Riot said Sarawak was lucky to have had Abdul Taib as its chief minister for 33 years as he had brought tremendous development to the state.
Miri pioneer house-builder Datuk Lau Siu Wai praised Abdul Taib for being the man behind the growth of Miri.
"It was Chief Minister Taib who turned Miri from just a small town into a resort city, the second biggest city in Sarawak. I feel sad that he is leaving. He has done so much for Sarawak and for Miri. He was the one who started the planning that turned Miri into the second biggest city in Sarawak. We will miss him," he said.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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