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Friday, February 28, 2014

legacy of leadership s p e c i a l


s u p p l e m e n t

Phyllis Wong, Fr ancis Chan, Kenny Ee, MaRGARET Apau Peter Sibon, Lian Cheng


Graphic Designers

Phyllis Wong, Fr ancis Chan, Stephanie Siaw, Kenny Ee, Joseph Masilamany,

Nicholas Ho, Leonard Michael, Gregory Aaron Tan,

IzzudDin Datuk AJIBAH, NorIezam Dr ahman Photo Credit Jabatan Pener angan Malaysia Negeri Sar awak Special Thanks to

Konos Bin Jenal

(Editor-Oper ations)


a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014


E was only 27 when he was sworn in as a State minister of Sarawak on July 22, 1963. For the next 50 years, with 13 years as Federal Minister and 33 years as Chief Minister, he lived up to his own unique legacy – by being a leader with responsibility, wisdom and vision doing something significant that charted the path of the nation, especially Sarawak, to development. Abdul Taib Mahmud was born into an aristocratic family on May 21, 1936 in Miri. He won a Colombo Plan Scholarship to study law in the University of Adelaide, Australia. Upon graduation, he declined the offer to be on the bench as a judge but chose to return to Sarawak to serve as a Public Prosecutor. He brought back with him a barrister’s degree and a young beautiful Australian wife of Turkish descent. Sarawak then was an economic backwater. Its longest road was a stretch of dirt road from Kuching outwards, schools were ramshackle and the children went to school barefoot, with 5,000 village and longhouses scattered all over the state with virtually no infrastructure. The task of development was almost impossible, not even the British could do so with their over 100 years of colonial rule. The turning point of Sarawak’s history was on March 26, 1981 – the day Pehin Sri Abdul Taib was sworn in as the fourth Chief Minister.

DURING his tenure, Taib has been able to facilitate the cooperation of leaders from different political parties to reach a common political consensus. Under his leadership, Sarawak BN scored spectacular victories during parliamentary and state elections: Parliamentary Elections: 1990 – 17 seats out of 27 1995 – 26 seats out of 27 1999 – all 28 seats contested. 2004 – 27 seats out of 28 2008 – 30 seats out of 31 2013 – 25 seats out of 31 State Elections: 1991 – 49 seats out of 56 1996 – 57 out of 62 2001 – 60 out of 62 2006 – 62 out of 71 2011 – 55 out of 71 These show that Sarawak under Taib’s leadership has contributed tremendously to the victory of BN in the nation in most of the elections. For Taib’s outstanding and sterling service and contributions to the nation and state he received state, national and also international awards, as follows:

A legacy of leadership

It was a time when political instability reigned supreme with members of political parties and state assemblymen leaving one group to join the other. The state was not only subjected to political vicissitudes with no attempt to elevate its economic stagnation but also had a tense relationship with the federal government. Against a backdrop of political uncertainty, there was no doubt in the mind of the first (then retired) Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj that Taib, with his impressive track record, would be best man to be the Chief Minister of Sarawak. The Tunku counted Taib as one of the most capable members of his Cabinet. For Taib, the affable and charismatic Tunku had been a mentor and father figure. Taib’s years as a federal minister and

(1) Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK) which carries the title Datuk by Sabah State Government in 1972; (2) Darjah Utama Yang Amat Mula Bintang Kenyalang Sarawak (DA) which carries the title Datuk Amar in 1974; (3) Thai Royal Decoration of Knight Grand Cross Award, First Class (KtWE) from the Thai Government in 1979; (4) Korean Order of Unification (KOU) Award from Korea in 1979; (5) Datuk Patinggi Bintang Kenyalang (DP) which carries the title Datuk Patinggi in 1981; (6) Darjah Kartika Eka Paksi Naraya (KEPN) by the Republic of Indonesia in 1986; (7) Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) which carries the title Dato Seri by the state government of Melaka in 1988; (8) Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) which carries the title Tan Sri by Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Almutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar (DK) Yang di-Pertuan Agong Malaysia in 1989; (9) Darjah Mahkota Brunei Yang Amat Mulia (SPMB), First Class which carries the title Datuk

massive victory of Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sarawak in the parliamentary and state elections allowed Taib to garner support and harness all the strength to develop Sarawak through federal funding. Taib was innovative and resourceful. He introduced a new policy that is the envy of many – the Politics of Development. Political infighting whether inter or intra were to be subordinated to economic development because the goal was no longer political fighting but development and economic prosperity for the state. Through the Politics of Development, the incidence of poverty from a soaring 70 per cent was brought down until it went as low as a single digit. Currently the rate of poverty in Sarawak is 2.5 per cent. Taib is a visionary leader, not only that, he is a man of action with concepts and ideas. He is methodical and meticulous. Education is the best leveller in an uneven playing field. Where you start is not important. What is important is how to take opportunities be they educational or economic to make it an even playing field. This doctrine of levelling the uneven playing field through education, knowledge, entrepreneurial skill was done under the policy of the New Reality, an elevation of the Politics of Development. Taib brought in Australian universities to Sarawak. Today, in Sarawak there are six universities. His former constituency in Samarahan was converted into an education hub. Under Taib, the budget for 2013 was RM4.9 billion without taking into consideration federal funding. Sarawak has no external debt. The financial ratings by Moody’s Investors Service and fellow international company Standard & Poor’s gave a consistent rating of 3A, which is comparable with the financial ratings of Saudi Arabia and Petronas. As a result of Taib’s policy of development, Sarawak’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth exceeded the national average in 1995. To balance development between urban and

rural areas, he also endorsed town planning, natural resources planning, large-scale plantations, and Native Customary Rights (NCR) land development. The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which was introduced in 2008, aims to diversify the future economy of Sarawak. Since 1981, the state’s GDP has grown from RM6.5 billion to RM19.7 billion in 1995 and increased further to an estimated RM29.9 billion in 1999. In the next five years, the state had an average real GDP growth of six per cent, building a progressive society of high quality human capital and good quality of life. The biggest chunk of Sarawak’s GDP is oriented towards export, which contributed to nearly an RM30 billion reserve. Taib’s strategy for the future development of Sarawak is Vision 2030 through the development of SCORE. SCORE’s plan is to bring “the economy into the global supply chain to be part of the whole economic growth.” The plan is to develop hydroelectric power projects. This will give Sarawak a competitive edge over other countries by providing a cheaper source of energy. In a ministerial capacity, Taib has the unique distinction of serving with all six prime ministers – the Tunku, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussien Onn, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He has met in person the last colonial governor, Sir Alexander Waddel, and also served under the first Sarawakian governor,Tun Abang Haji Openg, to the present Head of State, Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin. On February 28, 2014 (today), Taib retires after helming the state government for 33 years. During that period, he has distinguished himself with many firsts -- and ranked among his most highly acclaimed achievements must be blazing the trail of development and progress that is unprecedented in the history of Sarawak.

Seri Paduka by Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam in March 1989; (10) Darjah Seri Setia Diraja Kedah (SSDK) which carries the title Datuk Seri by DYMM Sultan Kedah in 1991; (11) Darjah Kebesaran Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang Yang Amat Dimulia Peringkat Pertama Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (SSAP) which carries the title Dato Sri in 1992; (12) Darjah Seri Sultan Salahuddin Aziz (SSSA) which carries the title Dato by DYMM Sultan Selangor in 1994; (13) Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Terengganu (SPMT) Kelas Pertama, in 1996; (14) Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK) Kelas Pertama which carries the title “Datuk Seri Panglima” by the Sabah state government in 1999; (15) Pingat Cemerlang Delima (Emas) (PCD) in conjunction with the State’s 40th anniversary of independence in Malaysia in 2003; (16) Darjah Satria Bintang Sarawak (SBS) which carries the title Pehin Sri by TYT Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak in 2003;

(17) Darjah Panglima Pangkuan Negeri, which carries the title Datuk Seri by TYT Yang diPertua Negeri Pulau Pinang in 2005; (18) Darjah Kerabat Johor Yang Amat Dihormati Pangkat Pertama (DKI) by DYMM Baginda Sultan Johor DatulTakzim; (19) Darjah Kerabat Sri Indera Mahkota Pahang Yang Amat Dihormati (DK Pahang) by Sultan Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah in 2007; and (20) Darjah Seri Utama Mahkota Wilayah (SUMW) by DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong Malaysia which carries the title “Datuk Seri” in 2008 in conjunction with Federal Territory Day in 2008. Apart from the above, he also received various awards and appointments as follows: (1) Semangat Padi (Emas), the Scout’s highest award by TYT Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Datuk Patinggi Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Muhammed Noor in 1990; (2) Pro-Chancellor, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, Aug 8,

Taib considers his proudest achievement to be in terms of economic development, social integration and industrialisation in Sarawak. But Sarawakians will also grateful to him for another very significant contribution – the constant nurturing, fostering and preserving of racial and religious tolerance and political stability that have enabled the various ethnic and racial communities to live side by side — in unity and harmony — all these years. He changed the skyline, economic and political landscapes of the Land of the Hornbills but has also left a lasting legacy, ref lecting our unique identity and an unwavering resovle to preserve our racial and religious harmony. Indeed, Taib leaves behind a Sarawak with a place in the sun for everyone — including the opposition. He is currently married to Puan Sri Raghad Kurdi Taib, an Arab from Syria. 1990; (3) The Honorary Degree of the University of Adelaide by University of Adelaide, Australia in 1994; (4) Pro-Chancellor, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in July 1995; (5) Ijazah Kehormat Doktor Sains (Hon DSc) by Universiti Putra Malaysia in 1997; (6) Ahli Kehormat Mayo Alumni Association by Mayo Clinic Alumni Association, Rochester, USA in 1998; (7) Fellow Kehormat Akademi Sains Islam by Islamic Academy of Sciences, Amman, Jordan in 1998; (8) Ijazah Kehormat Doctor of Technology by Curtin University of Technology, Australia in 2000; (9) Honorary Doctorate of Leadership by Lim Kok Wing University of Creative Technology, Kuala Lumpur in April 2010; (10) The Brand Laureate Brand Icons Leadership Awards 2012 by The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, Kuala Lumpur in 2012; and (11) Honorary Doctorate in Development Studies by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in October 2012.

a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014


Taib’s legacy is the state’s continued growth


HEN Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud steps down today, the era of his leadership as Chief Minister of Sarawak will come to an end but the legacy of development and progress he leaves behind is poised for further growth. H i s tenure at the helm saw a period

of unparalled growth that transformed the state from one of the poorest in the nation into one on the threshold of a high income society. When Taib took over as Chief Minister from his uncle Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub in 1981, 70 per cent of the people were living below the poverty line but today, 33 years later, the poverty rate in the state is just 2.5 per cent. Sarawak is on the cusp of achieving its goal as an industrialised and high-income society. The phenomenal growth of the state’s economy was the result of Taib’s vision and ability to maintain political stability despite challenges of the state’s multi-ethnicity. Taib’s contribution to the state’s growth is best summed up by his designated successor Tan Sri Adenan Satem who recently described him a ‘one in a million’ leader. Adenan said there is only one Taib Mahmud and there will never be another like him, quoting a line from a popular song … out of the million stars in the universe, you are the one that shines.

However, the true greatness of a leader is not only measured by what he has achieved during his term in office but more by the opportunities for further development he leaves for his successor. This is one aspect of Taib’s leadership often overlooked as accolades and tributes pour in for his Chief Ministership par excellence. A look at the direction he has steered Sarawak into in terms of development growth today through his astute planning and foresight leaves no doubt that his impeccable track record is not quantified solely by what he has achieved but equally so, by the development initiatives he has put in place to ensure continuity of progress for the state after his tenure. Taib’s shoes are admittedly too big for a single person to fill but through his visionary development strategies such as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), he has left a blueprint for leaders coming after him to implement and achieve as a team. While Sarawak will miss Taib’s leadership, there is no danger of the state’s

progress coming to an abrupt stop because he has made sure plans he laid out to take the state to even greater heights will be carried out by the leaders he has groomed over the years. Taib’s retirement will not mark the end of an era of growth. Rather, it will herald — and ensure — the continuation of the development tempo he has initiated. During his stewardship, Sarawak has attained unprecedented socio-economic development and what will be just as significant is the potential for growth he has created for the state when he hands the leadership baton to Adenan. Taib has made sure the best is yet to come for Sarawak after he retires – that is the true measure of his in comparable contributions to the people.


a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014


– a land of decision By Phyllis Wong

IN the late 50’s, a missionary, Rev David MacDonald, described Sarawak – which was at the crossroads – fondly this way: “The engine throbs into life and the boat vibrates. People are still clambering up the gangplank, women carrying children and bundles of vegetables, followed by other small children sucking on ice cream. “Highways are waterways in Sarawak. Some people ply the river in small craft, powered by outboard motors but most are content to let the public launch trundle them home from market. Bicycles, sacks of meal, oil-drums, timber, pigs, hens, ducks, edibles and passengers all seem to constitute a legitimate load….” British and American churches designated Sarawak as A Land of Decision in the belief that the following 25 years would witness monumental changes. Rev David MacDonald was one of the young ministers sent to Sarawak. Many other missionaries left the comfort of home to embark on a journey to the unknown and contribute to building up the people and churches in Sarawak. Fifty years later, in an interview with The Borneo Post, Rev David MacDonald said the Vision of Land of Decision has been fulfilled but he left these words that have been etched in this writer’s mind for as long as she can remember: “Each culture needs its own way of expressing its faith and we should seek common ground and agree with the little differences.” The early missionaries did their work and preserved the values of Sarawakians – peace-loving, tolerant, hospitable, seeking common ground and agreement on little differences. It was a change for the better. Our forefathers who migrated here laboured to build up this land. The government picked up from where they had left off in this prodigious endeavour – a transformation indeed it is. In his 33 years of chief ministership in Sarawak, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s task has not been all smooth sailing and without criticisms and attacks in all that he did – whether in the political, economical or social sphere. Many are asking how has Fair Land Sarawak been faring since 1981 – the year Taib took over the helm – till today when he relinquishes his post and moves on to fulfill his much anticipated appointment as Head of State. During his stewardship, Taib has undeniably chalked up an impressive track record. He has impeccable track records in GDP growth and 3A financial rating coupled with

a policy aptly summarised in the acronym COME – for Change, Opportunity, Mobility and Equality. He also has an excellent record in education as exemplified by his New Realty Policy which saw the setting up of six universities in the state today, including the campuses of Australian universities. On the political front, he has turned Sarawak into a blue state. Those who sacked were Barisan Nasional and those who had been sacked were also Barisan Nasional. He formulated a budget strategy, assigning 60 per cent of the allocated funds for development and 30 per cent for recurrent expenditure. For the future, he has destined development up to 2030 through the development of Sarawak’s Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). Yet, amidst all the fairness and trappings of progress, there are still many intriguing questions that run through people’s mind. Could he have fared better? Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How

noted: “How has Fair Land Sarawak been faring economics-wise since 1981 is a hard question.” “The gulf between us and Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong which were on par with us previously, have left us far behind today. South Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Indo-China which were looking up to us back then, are now well ahead of us. “I can safely say Fair Land Sarawak should have fared much better with better governance and a conscientious effort to benefit the masses,” See opined. But could another leader have done a better job for this land? When Taib started, among his numerous formidable tasks was identifying 5,000 villages and longhouses as trigger points and assembling those in geographically proximity into critical masses? Over the past 30 years, he has achieved an eight-fold rise in per capita income in terms of infrastructure development covering, among others, nearly 20,000km of roads throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak. u Continued on next page

a legacy of leadership

u From Page E4

Not all could fathom the depth and dimension of development Taib, the master economist and planner, had laid out for the state. But, nonetheless, the momentum of development did go on unabated. Taib’s parting words include Keep Sarawak for Sarawakians. At a birthday bash, he did say: “But the real success symbol of this struggle can be seen by the birth of many self-made personalities in society – entrepreneurs who have been able to rise from humble beginnings to become millionaires and even billionaires. “These self-made personalities are not confined only to the Chinese who are the pioneers of our economic development for a long time but have also spread out among the natives – Malays and Ibans – and we even have one Penan multi-millionaire. “These are the best things that have ever happened in our society.” Then, questions set in. Critics like opposition member See Chee How thought a fairer distribution of the wealth generated from our natural resources could be Taib’s small regret after 33 years at the helm. Notwithstanding the above, a Sabah opposition party leader Jeffery Kittingan

noted: “Taib is the defender of Sarawak rights. He is doing a better job than those in Sabah.” PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing concurred: “Sarawak for Sarawakians is not only the correct thing to say, it’s what every Sarawakian political leader should say and stand by without fear.” Even See himself acknowledged: “But I must give him credit for maintaining the racial and religious tolerance and harmony in our Fair Land. No one can dispute that he stands tall in this respect, comparing to any other chief ministers and menteri besar in the Malaysian history.” No doubt, a lot has been said and debated about the pros and cons of Taib’s tenure as the fourth Chief Minister of Sarawak. But ultimately, history will be the best judge of the legacy he leaves behind when he steps down today. As his successor, Tan Sri Adenan Satem played soothing music on his piano, entertaining Borneo Post journalists during a recent interview and let’s hear this story: One day, a man went to see an elderly musician and when he knocked, the latter opened the door and greeted him. In an almost exaggerated tone, the man hailed: “Well, good morning! What’s the good news today?” The music teacher didn’t say a word. He just went back into the room, picked up a little rubber hammer and struck a tuning fork that was hanging there. As the note reverberated across the room, the musician said: “That is ‘A’. Now, that was also ‘A’ 5,000 years ago and will be ‘A’ 5,000 years in the future.” Meanwhile, the soprano across the hall sang off key. The piano downstairs was out of tune. The baritone upstairs struggled with the high notes. But the musician, striking the tuning fork again, said: “That’s ‘A’ … and that, my friend, is the good news today!” There is no person without a flaw and no plan without a critique. We pay tribute to the man who has kept Sarawak for Sarawakians, and outside culture of racism and bigotry from the shores of Sarawak. Let his successor continue with this song – like the old music teacher who knew a musical key should not be changed for the sake of changing simply to suit the tone-deaf or the vocally unskilled. Fair Land Sarawak We will never cease to honour thee And with our loyal sons Defend your liberty From your high forest hills Down to the open sea May freedom ever reign Men live in unity Proudly our flag flies high Above our country strong and free Long may our people live In peace and harmony.

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a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

The shared destiny of Sarawakians in quotes Let justice flow like a river, integrity like an ever-flowing stream.


ver his 33-year tenure as Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud spoke of his “vision of a shared destiny in multi-racial Sarawak” likening the various religious and ethnic groups in Sarawak to the flow of water from streams, rivers and their tributaries. Each coloured by its native riverbeds – yellow, red, green and black – these waters would blend and emerge as one colour, blue as they reached the sea. According to him, this philosophy of convergence of races, through common activities can bring about greater unity.

The conf luence of rivers also means that as the rivers and streams join, the waters become stronger and bigger as more and more water flows down to the sea, exemplifying the need for more and more energy and resources in our movement towards a unified Malaysian identity. Many books have been written throughout Pehin Sri’s career, each encapsulating the visions, ideas and the principles behind his administration. In an effort to capture the driving force behind the Sarawak he envisioned today, The Borneo Post gleaned through a series of his books and speeches for quotable quotes.

On his vision of a shared destiny in multi-racial Sarawak: The total concept of culture is not only dance, song, poetry and all the other things that we enjoy in life. The total concept is a movement in our life that has the impact on the changing situation or sometimes creating situation which is based on the freedom of the people and the encouragement of the society to get them to conceive the best that they can produce from their time. Undoubtedly, it represents the mainstream of cultural change. – During the fifth cultural symposium at Dewan Undangan Negeri on June 17, 2009.

We cannot build a strong Sarawak unless we can bring all races together. There cannot be a viable Sarawak with a weak Malay, Iban or Chinese component or for that matter any neglected section of our community. We cannot build Sarawak and fulfill the aspirations of our community without thinking of the consequences of our actions as a whole.

The people must be encouraged to give their views and comment on matters relating to their livelihood. Hopefully, this two-way communication can help to promote a close rapport between the people and the government. They should not be left isolated as they could be susceptible to rumours.

As Muslims, we are being guided by the Al-Quran in our relationship with non-Muslims. The relevant verses clearly state that among the people, who you will meet and become true friends will be people, who profess to be Christians.

— Launching of K3P Kpg. Pengkalan Lutong, Miri in 1989.

— At the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration in Limbang on March 4, 2003.

Undeniably, we have contributed much to this transformation especially in making sure that our politics are stable and building the spirit of the multi-racial community, which has becomes the pride of Malaysia. I am heartened to hear that every visitors to Sarawak, everybody, that I have meet outside the country, who have interests in the development of Malaysia, has always remarked that Sarawak can be the example of what the struggle to build a multi-cultural people can be like.

The people, in spite of their different racial and religious backgrounds are coming together to preserve the dignity of the community as a harmonious, united and progressive society both politically and socially. This is the greatness of Sarawak, which will bring us towards greater progress and prosperity, with the ability of every member of the community to work together and become more efficient and productive. — At the opening of Masjid Noorul Islam in Sematan Sub-district on October 8,2004.

— Chinese New Year gathering in Miri on February 12, 2005.

We must have something in common with other people if we want them to be more open and share their feelings with us as much as we share ours with them. — Launching of Tabuan Friendly NeighbourhoodProgramme on April 9, 2005.

— Opening of Dewan Suarah Kapit, August 1989.

A very important thing that we must bear in mind is: You cannot isolate races according to the politics of the time. We must change our political as well as economic strategies in order to bring people to the framework of a critical mass, get a unit of economic activity working and find out what can be done to increase the scale of our activity. It is the only way to get our people to become more ambitious in getting some immediate benefits to the area and encourage the people to work harder for their own benefits.” — Keynote address at the Conference of Residents, Deputy Residents and District officer on July 12-13, 2005.

Plural leadership recognizes people, who can contribute towards the effectiveness of our leadership, people who represent different communities and should be listened to as they can get ideas working in their respective communities. In this kind of leadership, we must be guided by the principle that in whatever we want to do, we try to think of what others want. — Launching of Bidayuh Graduates Association on April 16, 2005.

To me, the various religious and ethnic groups in Sarawak are more like the flowing of water from streams and rivers and their tributaries in different colours, some may be clear, while others may be yellow, red, green or black in colours, into the sea. As they flow downward, their colours gradually change and by the time they reach the sea, they have been blended into one colour only, blue. More importantly, they become stronger and bigger as more and more water flow down with them to the sea. The flow of the water from rivers to the sea actually typifies an example of the need to have more and more energy and resources in our movement towards a Malaysian identity. — At a cultural symposium in August 2003.



a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014

The concept of A ‘ nak Sarawak’ To me, the mighty Batang Rajang, with the water flowing from numerous tributaries from as remote as Long Jawik, Baleh, Belaga, Song, Kanowit and others, represents a good lesson about the confluence of races, cultures and people’s participation in development. As the water from tributaries with different colours meet and flow downward to the sea, it produces many positive results. After 45 years of Merdeka through the birth of Malaysia, it is quite obvious that all ethnic groups have been able to show some of the similarities in certain aspects of their culture. National Gawai Dayak Open House on June 14, 2008

Without the understanding and appreciation of the Concept of Anak Sarawak, a Malay administrative officer may be inclined to help the Malays only and not the Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh and any others. On the other hand, an Iban or Chinese administrative officer may also be inclined to help his or her own community and not others. This must not be allowed to happen. Instead, all of us must say when we implement development plans, it must benefit all people.” Seminar on Second Wave of Development for Community Leaders on April 28, 2009

When we decided to promote the concept of the Confluence of Culture in 1988, we were not sure how it could help to enhance our common efforts to uphold the concept of Anak Sarawak, who could interact with each other in schools, places of work, recreational centres, beaches, playgrounds, sports complexes and other places. With our experience in instilling the spirit of the Confluence of Culture among the people of diverse ethnic groups and religious beliefs, we are able to sat that the concept of Confluence is the answer to Sarawak’s efforts to unify the people. The people comprising of diverse racial and sub-racial origins and religious beliefs, in spite of their differences, have a common desire for a transformation that can bring about a better life for them through the process of development.” Fifth Cultural Symposium on June 17, 2009

In the midst of progress and prosperity, necessary efforts must be made to project a strong image based on the rich traditional values, customs and traditions of the people to the world. Essentially the state must project a strong identity, based on the rich local culture that can give the added confidence, a sense of belonging and the motivation to the people to come and work together.” Pesta Kaul Mukah on April 26, 2008

In Sarawak, we cannot assume that various races have very distinct origins; the size of our population cannot justify that assumption. We are too small in calculation to enable us to say, for example that the Bidayuh is a separate race from other communities. By the same token, we can’t say that the Melanau or the Orang Ulu are distinct races from each other. Nor can the Iban community, though a bit bigger community than others, claim to be a distinct race from others ... Judging from our historical background, there are real possibilities that we came from the same roots, which could serve as the springboard for us to leap forward in upholding the dignity and integrity of the community. Melanau Cultural Seminar on April 24, 2009

a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014


Climate Change & Environment We are now facing a time where we have to cope with climate change and natural disasters. We have never seen such problems with the weather especially global warming before. Today, we cannot sit tight and expect to do things as usual. We have to change and adapt to new challenges and do things differently. – Spoken during keynote address to mark Civil Service Day on Nov 24 2009.

Peace, Stability & Freedom The British experience is a good example that the rise and fall of the people depends so much on peace and stability. A country cannot enjoy peace if there is no order. Under a tyrant, not many innocent people get killed but when there is anarchy where the government is weak, many people will be involved in private fights and many more innocent people will become victims and can get killed. Freedom cannot be the license to disregard any law that has been established in society. – Spoken during the winding of debate on Budget 2011 in the State Legislative Assembly on Nov 8, 2010.

SCORE People should be able to lead more prosperous lives as jobs are being created for them. The development of SCORE alone is projected to create 1.5 million jobs as compared to one million now. Obviously, the development of SCORE which entails the development of numerous gigantic projects will generate more jobs towards the year 2020. – Spoken during seminar on Knowledge Contents in Key Economic Sectors for Malaysia Phase II on August 4, 2009.

Education The transformation of the economy will involve transforming higher education that entails setting up of more skills development centres and universities. We believe we can do this. Now we boast of five universities. We are going to set up the sixth university in Sibu. But we must also build up the foundation in primary and secondary schools and set up skills development institutions. All communities must have the opportunity to get good education. – Spoken during the opening of the academic block of SK Abang Amin in Meradong on April 6, 2011.

Role of opposition in the development in the state


aib sees a role for everyone in the state’s development including the opposition. He does not believe in a confrontational relationship

with the opposition but wants them to play a constructive role by working with the government for the good of the people.

Personally I do not see the opposition as enemies as there are no reasons to do so. To me all state assemblymen, whether they are in the government or opposition, should not tread on racial line. Instead they should look at the overall benefits of development. –Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in winding up debate on the speech of Head of State in Dewan Undangan Negeri on May 14 2008

The burden of development in the past has fallen very heavily on the State and Federal governments. It is becoming very crucial for the private sector to be more involved in the development of the economy. – Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in tabling Supply Bill 2007 during the Dewan Undangan Negeri sitting on November 20 2006.

Private Sector involvement in development


key factor in Taib’s plans to develop Sarawak into a high income industrialized state is his thrust to involve the private sector in the state’s development. In tabling the Supply Bill 2007 he made the call to the private sector to play a bigger role in the state’s development.

Maintaining unity in State BN ranks to move forward towards Vision 2020 It must be understood that whatever strength that the component parties have is the strength of Barisan Nasional. We are not being judged by the strength of an individual party but he overall performance of Barisan Nasional, mainly as an institution that has given the country good governance and steady growth of the economy. – Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud speaking at the AGM of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) on August, 16 2007


nity is seen by Taib as crucial in the successful implementation of development projects in state as it

pursues the goals of Vision 2020 and as it strives to be on par with Peninsular Malaysia.


a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sustaining natural resources by developing renewable resources and human capital in ninth Malaysia Plan R

ecognising the danger of relying too much on natural resources that will lead to their over exploitation, Taib emphasised the development of renewable resources and human capital in the ninth Malaysia plan for the state.

The exploitation of natural resources must be done judiciously to ensure they remain sustainable. For the this reason, the state consistent with the National policy on human resources development will emphasise on the development of renewable energy and human capital in the ninth Malaysia Plan. – Tabling the Ninth Malaysia Plan – Sarawak’s perspective during a special sitting at the Dewan Undangan Negeri.

Implementing the bold vision of propelling the state on a quantum leap industrialisation through SCORE. W

hen Taib first brought up the idea of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy many eyebrows were raised. The plans seemed too ambitious and even farfetched but he stuck to his guns in implementing SCORE and prove all his doubters wrong with the resounding success of the programme.

SCORE is the direction for Sarawak all the way to the year 2030 to ensure that we will be able to generate growth after we achieved the status of developed nation by the year 2020. The plan for SCORE may look too ambitious at the moment but it has already attracted a lot of investors. Our past experiences in developing the state entailed constant surprises by overwhelming success of our development plans and programmes. The end result usually exceeds our expectation. — Winding up the debate on Supply Bill 2009 at the Dewan Undangan Negeri on November 12, 2008.

Enhancing cooperation between civil service and private sector


aving worked in the civil service early in his career and interacting with the public sector in his political career, Taib was keenly aware of the importance of the symbiotic coexistence of the public and private sector in the development of the state.

The interaction with the industry is getting increasingly sophisticated , which calls for members of the civil service, in small groups , to interact with and talk in the same language with big corporations in discussing terms to make investment possible in the country. — During Civil Service Day gathering on November 25, 2008 in Kuching.

Conserving the environment while pushing towards industrialisation


n his push for the industrialisation of the state Taib never lost sight of the need to protect the environment. He not only called for the awareness of the need to conserve the environment but went a step further by incorporating environmental conservation in business operations.

We have reached a stage of development where we can no longer be satisfied just by ensuring that all activities should be concurrent to the environmental protection requirements. Conscientious efforts must be made to build in our organization a mechanism by which the environmental conservation elements must be part and parcel of business operations. – During the presentation of environmental awards on April 28, 2008.

On NCR land Personally, I believe Native Customary Rights land can become assets or means by which we can bring the natives into the modern sector of development through participation and equity. Yet, when I design a very elaborate scheme, whereby, I can give, not one benefit but double benefits to people, who have NCR land, through participation in it. — November 24, 1987

Generally, the people in rural areas have plenty of land. However, if the lands remain idle, they are not accessible by roads, they do not have development and they remain as jungles, they do not have values. The kampungs will remain backward without any forms of development. That should not be allowed to happen. Advisably, the people with land should allow their lands to be acquired to construct roads and build schools, clinics or hydro dams. — During the launching of Sejiwa Senada Programme for Limbang Division in Lawas on February 11, 2011.

Ensuring jobs for S’wakians in civil service

On industrialisation We have agreed that industrialisation is the answer to most of our woes in this country; even natives in remote longhouses or Malay villages will eventually trek towards factories for any form of employment; that is something inevitable. We have to plan for it in order to have less heartache. However, we must be prepared to face a lot of criticisms in order to get a proper mix of policies for our industrial development programme. So far, we’ve succeeded in doing so; we have succeeded in pulling more investments to the state. — November 23, 1993

The transfer of personnel from Kuala Lumpur, in large numbers, to fill posts in organisations like Petronas, Shell, LNG and others in Sarawak may be expected. However, our stand on this issue is to ensure employment opportunities for the local people will not be jeopardised; the method of filling the vacancies by transferring people from outside Sarawak must first take into consideration the availability of the local people to be engaged on the posts.

On foreign investment

— November 29, 1998

— November 9, 1994

It is better for us, while we have the opportunity to stand on our own feet, to have more balanced terms and conditions of having partnership with them or working with them, the earlier the better. That is the overall scenario of the implications of foreign investment to our country.

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Friday, February 28, 2014


On economic diversification It will be suicidal for us not to think of diversification into areas that can promise growth and continue to depend on areas which are declining. For the love of the country, my recommendation is that we go in a combined manner. First, to make sure that the agriculture sector does not decline further and second, put greater efforts to encourage the growth of industries, tourism and other secondary sectors of our economy. We have no choice in this matter. (Nov 24, 1992)

On natural reserves Undeniably, we have big tracts of land and forests and good reserve of oil and gas and other things that constitute the natural resources. However, they will not be instrumental in our development unless we have a good policy and discipline to harness our energy to develop them. Actually, the land, forests and other things that constitute the natural resources have been there for centuries and yet we have been poor for a long time. (Nov 7, 1995)

Economic Transformation Programme Now we can see clearly as we fly from Miri to Kuching that the total size of the estates is larger than that of the jungles. In other words, now the people can see that the lands that used to be idle, have become sources of opportunities for them to earn good income.

On globalisation We have become one of the dragons in Asia and must behave like one. We are going to be challenged, no doubt, by many other developing countries. However, we can take comfort from the fact that the market and the opportunity are getting bigger. The people, who can rise to the challenge, will be able to reap bigger profits while those, who are not, I am sorry to say, they will have a trauma in the process of adjustment. (May 25, 1993) — Quotable quotes by outgoing Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on “Challenges of the Second Wave of Prosperity

On Politics of Devt In the case of Sarawak, we should be able to intensify our development as during the last 10 years we have been able to identify the best potentials to be developed, that can involve the people in economic activities to raise their levels of income. — Spoken when winding the debate on Budget 2011 in the State Legislative Assembly on Nov 8, 2010

Our politics in Sarawak, like those in the rest of the country, must be based on a sincere desire to achieve something to fulfil our independence with good economic growth and development that can bring positive changes to the people. Personally, I have been pursuing this line of politics, in the form of ‘politics of development’, that has served as the basis of my struggle because the other forms of politics, with a lot of rhetoric or worse, empty talks do not bring about any benefit to the people. (May 18, 1990)

— Spoken during rally and parade to mark the 89th birthday of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on Oct 16, 2010.

When I talked about wanting to be the Chief Minister of the Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulus, the Malays and all others, I was actually introducing a very long evolution of ideas, of trying to stop us from continuing on the helpless path without knowing how to come together. I do not believe this country can become prosperous if we do not make some efforts to get all the races together. – During a dialogue with representatives of the Federation of Chinese Associations, First Division on December 13, 2010.

Fastest Growing State We have already reached US$D11,000 per capita income in Sarawak. And we are trying to do more and more by the year 2020, we will be the fastest growing state in Malaysia. And that will be very good for the whole of Sarawak. — Spoken at the ground breaking ceremony of Taman Tunku/Miri road on Nov 5, 2010

Boosting Agriculture The market for food is getting bigger in Sarawak. This makes agriculture a lucrative industry. The potentials of the sector are yet to be fully tapped by members of the farming community. In other words, the opportunity is big and just waiting to be fully exploited by Sarawakians. — Spoken during launch of Farmer’s, Breeder’s and Fisherman’s Day in Bintulu on March 12, 2011

Civil Service The bottom line is members of the civil service must not only have knowledge but the skills in the management of knowledge. Though management of knowledge is the newest form of science, it is also an important one as it can help to transform us from a developing to a developed society by 2020. — Spoken at a gathering to mark Civil Service Day at Stadium Perpaduan Sarawak on Nov 24, 2009.


a legacy of leadership

Friday, February 28, 2014

Challenges of the second wave of prosperity It is incumbent upon all of us, who want to get Sarawak to continue to develop, to think about its long-term development. The very least that we should do is to squabble over little, little things and leave future to look after itself; the future can never look after itself, not in this globalized world. The future is what we make it out to be. For this reason, we must prepare for our own future, which must be within our reach. — At the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) on December 8, 2005.

We are embarking on the second wave of prosperity, which must be actualised by the present generation of school-goers, students and pupils. The second wave of prosperity lies in the development of science and technology, which will be a reflection of the struggle of the people which are willing to give their best in any task or endeavour, hence schools must continue to play an important role in preparing our children to assume their critical roles in the second wave of prosperity, which will bring us to the peak of our prosperity.

“Our political struggle must be founded on the principle of ensuring a bright future for the people, state and the nation. In elections, we must be prepared to forget our quarrels about things and focus our attention to strengthening the leadership, which can ensure q bright future for us. Our quarrels, for example, matters related to land or personalities should be separated from elections as elections are not the appropriate time to pressure the government to do something for personal or group interests. It any case, we must bear in mind that whatever decisions being made under pressure and worse under extreme pressure will not be correct and just. Instead, we must try to settle problems through discussions with the spirit of compromise”

— At a Merdeka rally for school children on Sept 2, 2004.

– Opening of mini stadium in Daro on May 10, 2006.

(Alfred Russell) Wallace came up with his world shaping ideas while in Sarawak 150 years ago, shaping the stage to ensure deeper intellectual endeavours to develop Sarawak’s young biodiversity heritage. His legacy should be continued by preserving the historical sites and promoting research into his ideas. Sarawak must endeavour to become the choice for Wallace conferences in future in order to give the added impetus on our efforts to nurture the biodiversity heritage. More importantly, it must help to encourage conscious efforts to preserve our environment in the process of development. — Conference on Biodiversity, jointly organised by Unimas and SDI in Kuching on Nov 1, 2004.

Sarawak can never prosper by relying only on timber-based industries, the present agricultural development and the agricultural development and the oil industry. The spin-off from petroleum or gas is very limited. We have to find other ways to develop our economy in order to give enough jobs for the people. We have to create jobs for the people who are qualified. The future of Sarawak, like the rest of Malaysia, depends on the ability to generate jobs in the modern sector, in then high-tect sector. More than half of the employment opportunities beyond 2020 status will be on the high-tech sectors.

The next 20 years must be considered as a golden opportunity for us to redeem ourselves from being people of poor nation to those of a developed nation with the name status as that in Europe, USA, Japan and others.

It is not the policy of the State government to behave like a person who needs to ease himself, enters a house, go straight into the back room and after doing so, just leave the house. I will not leave the people just like that as I do not want to be cursed by them. I have been planning that I will only hand over the leadership of the party and the government once I can see a team of leaders, who can preserve the good things, which we have achieved in the state. They can improve on the good things but not undo them. Personally I do not believe in ditching my responsibility. In fact, I want to ensure, before I decided on my retirement, that we must have an able team who can guide us and preserve whatever good things that have been achieved for the people of Sarawak.

— At a rally and parade to mark Yang Di Pertua Negeri’s 83th birthday on September 11, 2004 in Bintulu.

— Speech at the opening of sports complex in Asajaya on February 25, 2006.

— Speech at the DUN on December 15, 2004.

Legacy Of Leadership  
Legacy Of Leadership  

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