MalaysiaKini should look into Abdul Taib Mahmud reigning of Sarawak since 1981. Another disappointing note is that Sarawak medias are boasting that there are four Chief Ministers in 45 years.

Since 1981 until present, Abdul Taib has became one of the longest serving Chief Minister in Malaysia. He rule Sarawak for 27 years. That's 5 terms in office.

Even great United States's presidents like Reagan, Bush or Clinton only hold office for a maximum of 2 terms.


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Extracted from TheBorneoPost

Four chief ministers in 45 years

KUCHING: Pop quiz: Name all of Sarawak’s chief ministers in the correct order starting from the first.

The Borneo Post took this quiz to the street and the answers we got were less than satisfactory. Those above 35 years old answered fairly well but many under 30 years old needed to open their history books again.

Many people under 30 thought that Tun Abdul Rahman Yaakub was the first chief minister of Sarawak. For those who have short memories, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is Sarawak’s fourth chief minister.

Sarawak may be part of a young nation, but we have travelled a long and difficult road to get to where we are today. Unfortunately, Sarawakians, particularly the current generation, have very limited knowledge of the state’s history.

Why this is happening is something academicians and educators should be thinking about. But whatever the reason, it is a sad state of affair when citizens do not know and appreciate the history of their own country.

It is really inconceivable that Sarawakians do not know who have been their chief ministers. Four is not a big number to remember compared to the contributions and sacrifices that each of them made for the state.

The fact is that the state is what it is today mainly because of the leaders, and the least that Sarawakians could do is to know them.

So to refresh our minds, let us take a brief look at who our past and present chief ministers are:

First Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan, 1963 - 1966

Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan created history when he won in the polls and was appointed as the first chief minister of Sarawak on July 22, 1963. As the chief minister of a newly independent state which helped formed Malaysia, Kalong faced many challenges from within the state and from without.

Kalong was born in August 1922 in Betong which was then administered under the Second Division of Simanggang. He was a student of St Augustine’s school. After he completed his education, he became a dresser at a Shell Company hospital in Kuala Belait, Brunei for several years.

At the hospital, he was chairman of the Shell Dayak Club. He also became the founder and president of the Sarawak Dayak Association from 1958 to 1960.

He returned to Betong and established the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in April 1961. Although he initially did not accept Tunku Abdul Rahman’s proposal on the formation of Malaysia, he eventually became a strong supporter of the federation.

In the 1962 election, SNAP won many seats, earning him the trust to be chief minister. In addition, Kalong played an important role in forming Perikatan Sarawak. He was its secretary-general.

Second Chief Minister, Datuk Penghulu Tawi Sli, 1966-1974

Datuk Penghulu Tawi Sli Tini’s appointment was to save Sarawak from an escalating political crisis. Though he was initially a SNAP member, he later joined Pesaka.

Tawi was born in Banting also in the then Second Division. He came from an Anglican family and he had his formal education at St Thomas’ school in Kuching until Form 3.

After he finished school, Tawi became a teacher in a mission school while undergoing training for three years to become a pastor. He then served as a clerk in a government department before retiring in 1961.

In 1963, Tawi was appointed a Penghulu and started to become active in politics. He became the secretary of SNAP Simanggang. Tawi was among several candidates for the chief minister’s post in 1963. Due to several factors, he joined Pesaka in 1966.

Third Chief Minister of Sarawak Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub, 1970 - 1981

Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub was a charismatic leader with a clear vision of what he wanted. He became chief minister when armed communist terrorists challenged Sarawak’s independence.

Rahman was born in Kampung Jepak, Bintulu, on January 3, 1928. He was a student of Sekolah Aichi and then St Joseph’s school in Miri. A driven young man, he attended night class while working for Shell in Miri during the day.

Rahman passed his Senior Cambridge examination and continued his education at the University of Southampton in Britain where he graduated with a law degree. Upon returning to Sarawak, Rahman was appointed as a deputy public prosecutor.

As a highly educated person with a deep interest in politics, he established Barisan Anak Jati Sarawak (Barjasa). He eventually resigned as a public prosecutor and contested as a Barjasa candidate in 1963 but lost.

Nevertheless, he was brought to Kuala Lumpur and appointed as Land and Minerals Minister and later Education Minister.

In 1969, he contested in the election, which was postponed to 1970. This time he won.

The win also came after the merger of Panas and Barjasa which became Parti Bumiputera in 1966.

No party, however, won with a clear majority during the polls and this caused some parties to find suitable partners. In this respect, Rahman was successful in convincing SUPP to help form a coalition government in 1970 with him as the chief minister.

Rahman stepped down as chief minister in 1981 and was appointed Yang Di-Pertua Negeri, a position he held until 1985.

Fourth Chief Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, 1981—Present

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is the longest serving chief minister and elected representative. He is a leader who is courageous and far-sighted.

After graduating in law from the University of Adelaide, Taib joined the Judiciary Department in February 1962. He was appointed a member of the Council Negeri on July 22, 1963, when he was only 27 years old.

Taib was born in Miri on May 21, 1936, after his parents had moved from Mukah. He is the eldest among seven siblings. He had his early education at St Joseph’s Primary School in Miri and continued his education at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Kuching.

Taib scored excellent results in the Senior Cambridge examination, which enabled him to obtain a Shell Scholarship to further his study at University of Adelaide in 1958.

In the first Sarawak Cabinet, Taib was appointed Communication and Works Minister from 1963 to 1966 and as Development and Forest Minister in 1967. He was later called up to join the Federal Cabinet until 1981. Taib was appointed to numerous portfolios such as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (1968 - 1970), Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (1970- 1972), Primary Industries Minister (1977), Defence Minister (1978), Information Minister as well as Socio Economic Planning and Research Minister (1979) and Federal Territories Minister (1980).

In 1981, Taib returned to Sarawak to contest in the Sebandi by-election. After he won, he was appointed chief minister.

He was the assemblyman for Sebandi until 1987 and after that, he became the Asajaya assemblyman until the 2006 state election when he decided to contest in Balingian. Taib was also Samarahan member of parliament from 1970 to 2008.

(Profiles of the chief ministers were translated from the official 45th anniversary souvenir book, ‘Perayaan 45 tahun Sarawak maju dalam Malaysia, 1963 - 2008’).

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