Saturday, January 05, 2008

:: Misunderstanding

Uncle and nephew embrace and exchange pleasantries, indicating end of years of misunderstanding

Updated : 10:00 am January 05, 2008

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Friday, January 4th, 2008

Taib, Rahman bury hatchet
By Samuel Aubrey

KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and former Head of State Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub made their first public appearance together at the latter’s 80th birthday dinner at a leading hotel here last night after many years of political acrimony.

They embraced and exchanged pleasantries, a positive sign that the misunderstanding between them in the past had been sorted out. Their show of affection for each other drew a loud cheer from the crowd.

Rahman, who is Taib’s uncle, also kept the audience amused with his witty speech and even rendered a Japanese love song which he learnt during the Japanese Occupation in the early 1940s.

He even referred to Taib as ‘Yang sangat saya sayangi (my most beloved)’.
Recollecting the early years of the family’s growing years in Miri, he said he remembered Taib as a mischievous boy who has become a great leader especially after taking up his advice to read law in order to better serve the State.

On the merger of Parti Pesaka and Parti Bumiputera into Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Rahman said it was actually mooted by Pesaka president, the late Temenggong Tun Jugah.

Rahman pointed out that Taib succeeded in turning it into a strong party uniting all Bumiputeras in Sarawak according to the aspiration of its founder, Jugah. “PBB was not created by me or Taib. It was the idea of the late Tun Jugah. Nothing more can be said of his sacrifices and efforts to unite the Bumis in the State,” he said of PBB, the backbone party of the State BN.

In an interview with Bernama, Rahman was asked about the conflict he had with Taib. He replied that their relationship had improved and that it was only a “minor misunderstanding” that caused the rift between them.
There was a minor misunderstanding due to the work of someone who died a few years ago, creating a lot of problems between us. Taib invited me to his house last month, my daughters, I…we all went to his house. Praise be to Allah. I looked after Taib since he was a child,” he said, agreeing that “blood is thicker than water”.

During the birthday party, Rahman also talked about his experiences in politics, the formative years of Malaysia and the many funny encounters he had while in office.

He said Sarawak was special compared to other States especially those in Peninsular Malaysia. Although the State had a multi-racial composition its population was able to work together in harmony in one goal.
“For now we should lend our strongest support to the government which is being led by our own people,” he said.

Among the 1,000 guests present were the Head of State Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin and Toh Puan Norkiah, Datuk Amar Puan Sri Laila Taib, and past and present political leaders from throughout the country.

Rahman had served as the third Chief Minister of Sarawak from 1970 to 1981, before becoming Head of State from April 1981 till 1985.

Prior to that, he served at the federal level as Lands and Mines Deputy Minister and later as Education Minister before resigning to return to Sarawak as Chief Minister.

He was the first barrister of law from Sarawak. He had gained a scholarship from the then British colonial government to read law at Southampton University and went on to Lincoln’s Inn in London.
This was after completing his Senior Cambridge examinations by the end of 1953 at St Joseph’s School with good results.

His family was originally from Mukah but the young Bintulu-born Rahman grew up in Miri in the 1930s and right through the Japanese Occupation.

During his time in office, he was known as a master orator who never ceases to amuse his audience.