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Taib Ventured Into Politics At 27
Abdul Taib became the youngest member of the Supreme Council (State Cabinet) at the age of 27 on July 22, 1963.
He was appointed as the minister of communication and works in the first state Cabinet headed by the then Chief Minister Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan.
The other members of the Cabinet were James Wong (deputy chief minister), Awang Hipni Pengiran Anu (state minister), Dustan Endawi Enchana (minister of local government) and Teo Kui Seng (minister of natural resources).
Abdul Taib was educated at St Joseph's School in Miri and awarded a scholarship to study at St Joseph's Kuching. After that, he was awarded a scholarship to study law at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia and served as a judge's associate in the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1949.
He is a specialist in comparative religion and Malay literature.
Abdul Taib married Laila Taib, a Polish Muslim, then 18, at South Australia's Adelaide mosque on Jan 13, 1959, and they were blessed with four children (two sons and two daughters).
After Laila died in 2009 due to cancer, Abdul Taib married Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib of Syria in 2010.
On his return to Kuching from Australia in 1962, Abdul Taib joined the Legal Department and served from February 1962 to 1963.
When Sarawak gained independence within Malaysia, he joined the State Legislative Council of Sarawak on July 22, 1963, where he was appointed State Minister for Communication and Works from 1963 to 1966 and Minister of Development and Forestry in 1967.
On several occasions, Abdul Taib acted as the chief minister. In 1964, he became the vice-chairman of Parti Berjasa Sarawak (Berjasa).
Abdul Taib served as the federal assistant minister for commerce and industry from 1968 to 1970.
He represented Parti Bumiputera Sarawak (Bumiputera), a component party of the Sarawak Alliance, in the Malaysian general election in 1969.
In the 1970 parliamentary election for Sarawak, he was elected as the MP for Kota Samarahan.
He was later appointed to numerous portfolios, including deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department (1970-1972) and natural resources minister (1972-1974).
In 1973, Abdul Taib was appointed deputy president of the newly-formed Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) before subsequently becoming the president of the party.
He returned to Sarawak to contest in the Sebandi (now Asajaya) by-election in 1981 and won the seat unopposed. Taib was then appointed Sarawak Land and Mines Minister before succeeding his uncle, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'kub, as the fourth chief minister of Sarawak.
He held the Sebandi seat until 1987, and was then elected as the state assemblyman for Asajaya.
In the 2001 state election, he decided to contest in Balingian.
Abdul Taib's probably most challenging moment was the 1987 'Ming Court Affair' when dissatisfaction with his leadership resulted in a group of PBB politicians claiming that the interests of Bumiputeras were being neglected.
The group claimed that Abdul Taib had exclusively favoured the Chinese and Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).
The Dayaks in Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) were quite frustrated because the post of chief minister had not been in their hands for 17 years.
This caused Abdul Rahman to launch a series of attacks against Abdul Taib in 1987, widely known as the 'Ming Court Affair'.
Abdul Rahman headed a group of disappointed Sarawak politicians from the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and PBDS and they gathered at the then Ming Court Hotel in Kuala Lumpur in order to move a motion of no-confidence against Taib's leadership.
Seeing a political crisis looming, Abdul Taib called a snap state election in 1987, which he narrowly won.
His coalition won 28 of the 48 seats in the state assembly and later eight assemblymen defected from PBDS, decreasing the PBDS seats from 15 to 7.
PBDS remained in the opposition until it was readmitted into the Sarawak BN in 1994.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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