Undeniably, the State has been very successful in terms of progress and development during the last 51 years of Independence within Malaysia, more so during the last 33 years under the leadership of Pehin Sri Abdul, who is acclaimed of being bold and visionary in his tireless efforts to transform Sarawak from one of the least developed to become one of fastest developing states in the country.
This is the new reality of the successful efforts in development with the philosophy of the politics of development during the last 33 years. For example, the state can boast the overall progress and prosperity six times better than those being achieved by the previous governments, mainly the Brookes and colonial administration put together during the last 200 years.
|Kuching Waterfront (1960s)|
Looking ahead, Sarawak is poised to achieve greater height of success in terms of development and progress; it should be able to join other states to become a developed state by the year 2020.
Sarawak with the per capita income of about RM42,000, should be able to attain the status of a developed economy by the year 2017 or earlier than the year 2020. It is anticipated that the future development, with a very encouraging response from foreign investors towards the industrial development, will be massive.
The gross domestic product in 1963 was RM505 million and now after 50 years of Independence, it is RM108 billion. The per capita in 1963 was RM688 and now it is RM42,000.
Undoubtedly, the people, since Independence in 1963 have been enjoying the benefits of development. For example, there were more people under employment than employment in 1963. Generally, the people had to live from hand to mouth. They had to work first before they could have their meals. By the 70s, there were only 300,000 job opportunities. Now there are 1.1 million job opportunities in the State.
The rate of unemployment in 1990 was 9.9%. It has dropped to around 4% now. As a consequence, the rate of poverty has been reduced from more than 60% in 1963 to 2.4% now. The household income in 1963 was only RM410 and now it is RM4,200 an increase of more than 10 times.
With the current pace of development to be accelerated with the development of SCORE, the development of Samalaju Industrial estate and Tanjung Manis Halal hub in particular, Sarawak will become a developed State by the year 2017 or 2018 well before the year 2020. That is the overall economy that the people will be living in towards the year 2020 and beyond.
Arguably, Sarawak has been able to succeed fast with most of the income coming from outside. The State, with a population of only 2.5 million, cannot depend on its own wealth and resources. Fortunately, Sarawak has become part of the world trading partner and has been able to play a global game to build its revenue and wealth.
The Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Haji Satem in his speech during the Malam Menjunjung Kasih (People’s Appreciation dinner for His Excellency for his 33 years of dedicated service to the people, State and country as the Chief MInister) said it would take him until the following morning to list out things that His Excellency has done for Sarawak.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan used to say if the history of Sarawak is written in future, the chapter on Tun Abdul Taib be the most significant chapter in the history of Sarawak. He has succeeded in transforming the state from the most backward state; the back water to what it is today, one of the most progressive states in the country.
His Excellency, as the Chief Minister, transformed Sarawak from the back water for so many years to what it is today, prosperous, confident, developed, maybe not enough development but he has shown us the direction. That was his contribution.
|Simpang Tiga Interchange|
Datuk Patinggi Adenan, in paying a glowing tribute to His Excellency, said all the development plans and programs that have or are being implemented all his ideas and aspirations. The State has been very lucky to have a leader like him, who is not easy to find. Sarawak or Malaysia for the matter is indeed very lucky to have Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib as a leade.
He has served his country well. He has served the people, state and country brilliantly as the post Independent Cabinet Minister during the time of Ningkan(Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong NIngkan, the first Chief Minister) as the Minister of Communications and Works, the Minister of Forestry and etc.
He served in the Federal Cabinet for 13 years serving in various capacities including the Minister of Primary Industries, Minister of Defence, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Minister of General Planning and Socio-economic research and the Minister of Federal Territories.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan used to say he is the man of all seasons like a renaissance, whose knowledge is not only deep but very wide. Talking to him is an education by itself. That is the mark of the man. The people, who have the opportunity to talk to him on any subjects like history, politics or any other subjects, will learn something from what he has said.
|Borneo Medical Centre|
Datuk Patinggi Adenan said he has known His Excellency for the past 50 years and to him Tun is the combination of the wisdom of Tunku Abdul Rahman (Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj, the first Prime Minister), his adopted father, the dedication of Tun Razak (Tun Abdul Razak,the second Prime Minister) the sincerity of Tun Hussein (Tun Hussein Onn,the third Prime Minister) the commitment of Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamed, the dedication of Najib(Dato Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak ) and the flair of P.Ramlee.
He said he has never seen some one so crazy about a singer; he would sing P.Ramlee’s song while flying, he would sing P.Ramlee’s songs during dinners, he would sing P.Ramlee’s songs before going to sleep; in other words, he sings P.Ramlee during whatever time he has for himself.
He was the No.1 fan of P.Ramlee. That was because of the soul, music and the harmony that His Excellency saw in P.Ramlee. He believed His Excellency he was the first one to recognize the greatness of P.Ramlee. Other people realized the greatness of P.Ramlee as a musician, singer, actor and film director only after he had died.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan said His Excellency is the man who reflects the soul of P.Ramlee. Those are the characteristics of the man of all seasons and the man who had the vision for the people, State and country. He has ideas and aspirations for the people and the state.
|Tanjung Manis Halal Hub|
He started to know Abdul Taib 52 years ago in the year 1961 or 1962 while he was still in school preparing for the Senior Cambridge examination. Then all senior secondary students used to gather on Saturday afternoon at Sekolah Rakyat Abang Haji Bolhasan to listen to talks given by Bumiputra graduates in those days.
Then on one Saturday afternoon it was Abdul Taib’s turn to give lecture to them. He did not know Abdul Taib before that. When he came some friends commented that he looked like P.Ramlee. They all agreed that his movements and actions resembled those of the late P.Ramlee.
He came with his Australian wife, who was locally referred to as Ma’am. In those days when people talked about Ma’am, they all thought she came from England. She was tall and different from other Ma’am. She came from Australia. She was an Australian of Polish decent and already a Muslim.
|Swinburne University Sarawak Campus|
|University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)|
Datuk Patinggi Adenan recalled Abdul Taib came with his car Opel and they were all very impressed to see a foreign car being driven by a Malay. All of them were very impressed by his talk. The other personalities who used to give lectures to them were Dato Abdul RahmanYa’akub (now Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Ya’akub and Safri Awang Zaidell, now Tan Sri Dato Haji Safri Awang Zaidell.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan admitted at 17 years old he could not really appreciate the importance of subjects like history, education, nationalism and others. But later on when he entered the University of Adelaide, the same university as Abdul Taib, he realized the truth in all what Abdul Taib had been telling them about nationalism, the love of the state, the importance of education and knowledge.
Then he realized that Abdul Taib, who looked very much like P Ramlee had a very high standard which he should follow. He used to say Abdul Taib bin Mahmud was an inspiration for young people of his generation like a beacon on a hill to let them do better things in life.
|Sibu Lanang Bridge|
He admitted it was very hard to follow his footsteps. His first step to follow Abdul Taib was to study in the same university. Even as a student His Excellency made a name for himself. The lecturers in the university or judges in Adelaide, all knew that he also came from Sarawak.
He said every time he made mistakes the lecturers would tell him, Abdul Taib would not make such mistakes. They would compare him with Abdul Taib. It was a real disadvantage to him.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan, now following the footstep of His Excellency as the fifth Chief Minister of Sarawak, said he could anticipate the problem as it was a real problem to fit into a bigger shoe. He has his own style and he needs time to do his work.
He said the appointment of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib as the seventh Yang di Pertua Negeri is most appropriate; it is right that he should be there. He should have the time to relax at his age and after serving the people, state and country with selfless dedication and huge sacrifices.
|Tun Salahuddin Bridge in Kuching|
He said the people from all walks of life gathered in thousands to such an extent that both inside and outside the banquet hall were packed with the guests who wanted to show their thanks and gratitude to the paramount leader during the past five decades.
This was to show how much the people, comprising of diverse ethnic and religious groups love and respect Abdul Taib. It also reflected their sadness as he would no longer lead them as their political leader.
However, they all consider his new appointment as the Yang di Pertua Negeri, as the umbrella to protect them from the hot sun or from the rain.
Datuk Patinggi Adenan thanked Datuk Amar Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg, the Minister of Housing and also the Minister of Tourism, who was the Chairman of the main Organising committee, for pledging on behalf of other cabinet Ministers their full support to him. The responsibility of the Chief Minister is very heavy and the success hinges on team efforts.
Sarawak Monitor28 January 2015