Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak



The most experienced politician and longest serving Chief Minister of Sarawak is Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud. He has been Chief Minister since March 26, 1981. Prior to becoming Chief Minister of Sarawak he had served in various capacities in both the Sarawak State Cabinet and the Federal Cabinet.In the first Sarawak State Cabinet in 1963, he was appointed Minister for Communications and Works and later became Minister of Development and Forestry. In the Federal level, in 1968, he was made Assistant Minister for Commerce and Industry until 1970 when he became Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and Deputy Minister of Works, Telecommunications and Posts.In 1972, this Australian trained lawyer was appointed Natural Resources Ministers. In 1974, he became General Planning and Socio-Economic Research Minister. In addition to this portfolio, he also held the portfolio of Information and Special Function Minister on August 6, 1975. Other senior portfolios he held from 1978 to 1980 in the Federal Cabinet were Primary Industries Minister, Federal Territory Minister and Defense Minister. In February 1981, he resigned from the Federal Cabinet to contest the Sebandi State by-election in which he was returned unopposed. Subsequently he was made Sarawak's Land and Mines Minister before becoming the Chief Minister a month later.Under his 27-year rule, and his vision of "Politics Of Development", Sarawak has undergone tremendous growth and rapid development. Total peace was also achieved in 1990 when all the hard core communists put down their arms. With his firm and total grip in power and the development and stability he has achieved for the state, Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia where UMNO and MCA have not been able to make inroads into Sarawak's politics. The Parti Bersatu Bumiputra (PBB) which he leads since becoming Chief Minister, is the backbone of the Sarawak Coalition Government or the Barisan Nasional Government. Unlike UMNO which is solely for the muslim Malays, PBB is also for the Dayaks and Melanaus who practise the christian faith. At 72 years old this year,Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud is not contesting in the Samaraham Parliamentary seat in the 12th general election, a constituency which he first held in 1970. He has given up this seat to one of his sons, Dato Sri Suliaman. The first picture above shows the Chief Minister during a visit to the coastal village of Rajang in the early 80s. The second picture which was also taken in the 80s, shows him(middle) in full ministerial attire attending an official function in Sibu.

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