KUCHING, Oct 8 — Sarawakians owe much of the state’s political stability and racial and religious harmony to Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, according to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah.
Uggah said the state is an example of multireligious, multicultural unity, harmony and stability to the rest of the country thanks to Taib’s leadership that can be traced back to when he started as chief minister in 1981 before becoming Sarawak governor.
He added that Taib has also contributed immensely to the state development in all aspects since joining politics in 1963.
“Sarawak’s current pace of development has its root in his dynamic, people- centric leadership,” Uggah said in his speech at a thanksgiving prayer in conjunction with Taib’s 85th birthday celebration organised by the state Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) today.
Taib was chief minister from March 26, 1981 to February 27, 2014 and was appointed governor on March 1, 2014.
Uggah said today’s thanksgiving prayer reflects the harmony, solidarity, stability, progress and social inclusivity practised in Sarawak.
He also extolled the establishment of Unifor by former chief minister the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem for promoting interfaith dialogues, understanding and cooperation.
“I hope that Unifor will be on hand to continue to organise this and other similar events to bring together heads of different religious institutions, for them to enhance and cement ties.
“While we are able to engage with one another in a constructive brotherly manner, there are a lot of challenges in front of us coming through social media, because the world is so small and so many issues are raised.
“I am happy to note that so far, all the religions in Sarawak managed to avoid unnecessary conflicts and try to discuss the issues at hand so that we will not, like any other countries or places, be torn apart by internecine religious fanaticism and racial strife,” he said.
The thanksgiving prayer saw the participation of non-Islamic religious groups, led by Archbishop Simon Poh of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching.
Other state leaders present included Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul anak Samion, Assistant Ministers Datuk Liwan Lagang, Datuk John Sikie anak Tayai, Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil and Datuk Francis Harden Anak Hollis, State Assembly Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala, Deputy State Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Anak Joyik and Christian assemblymen.