Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and Fr Dato Lawrence Chua were good friends (TC file photo)

By Ivy Chai

Feb 26 2024

KUCHING — Former Sarawak Governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud aged 87, passed away in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 21 2024.

In extending the Catholic Church’s deepest condolences to the Sarawak Government and the family of the late Tun Pehin Sri, Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh said the late Governor was a good friend of Sarawak’s first local-born priest, Rev Fr Dato Lawrence Chua.

They were classmates in Mukah and both came to Kuching to study in St Joseph’s Secondary School. They remained life-long friends until Fr Chua’s demise in October 2021.

In sharing the “human side” of the late Tun Pehin Sri Taib, Archbishop Simon Poh said he was told Tun Pehin Sri shed “tears of sadness when he wrote a personal handwritten note of condolence for Fr Chua.”

The letter, addressed to Archbishop Simon was read out at Fr Chua’s funeral. It also contained the prayer, “Saya berdoa semoga Tuhan menganugerahkan syurga yang dikhaskan untuk umatnya yang baik dan taat (I pray that God will graciously grant a heavenly abode for his faithful and obedient people).”

To reciprocate, Archbishop Simon Poh said, “In the late Tun Pehin’s own words, we also pray, ‘Saya berdoa semoga Tuhan menganugerahkan syurga yang dikhaskan untuk umatnya yang baik dan taat’.”

Tun Pehin Sri Taib, throughout his several political portfolios, had given his support to many of the missionary projects of the Catholic Church. He will be remembered for his religious tolerance and racial harmony of the diverse cultures in the state of Sarawak. – Today’s Catholic