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Taib's eldest son recalls what it was like growing up with a 'strict, disciplinarian' father

Publish date: Thu, 22 Feb 2024, 07:21 PM

KUCHING: What Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib remembered most about his father, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, was that he always had time for his family.

"He gave 100 per cent to his work. He also gave 100 per cent to his family.

"He always made time for us," said the eldest son of the former Sarawak Governor who died yesterday.

He was refering to his and his three siblings' - elder sister Jamilah Taib Murray, brother Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, and sister Datuk Hanifah Hajar, who is also the Deputy Economy Minister - relationship with their father.

"My father, was (also) very strict. A disciplinarian.

"But growing up with him was a great experience," Bekir also said.

"He worked very, very hard. That's something we all remembered.

"When he comes back from work, he's always so tired and it showed on his faced. Still he has time for us."

Bekir said one of the things his father used to do was take them to watch movies.

Those days, watching a movie meant going to the cinema.

Taib's favourite movies? Chinese sword fighting movies.

"Because of my father, I've seen hundreds of these sword fighting movies."

Bekir said he remembered there were times his father would just curl up and go to sleep in the cinema.

"His love for us is so great that he tried to beat it (the tiredness). He always had time for us.

Bekir also remembered his father would babysit him even when he was at work.

"When he was the information minister, I would go straight to his office at Angkasapuri from school," Bekir recalled.

He said he was then about 9 years-old and in Primary Three.

Hanging around Angkasapuri while waiting fo his father to finish work was a geat experience, he said.

"I remember going to the various studios watching people at work, shooting a show or something while waiting for my father to finish work at 5pm.

"He actually did it (babysitting) for my mother because by the time we reached home, my mother would not be so tired (if she had to care for me)."

When Taib held the federal Primary Industries portfolio, Bekir said his education 'outside' his classes continued.

"We spent a lot of time in Serdang at the then Universiti Pertanian, now Universiti Putra."

Bekir said there he learned how to catch fish, grow fruits and vegetables.

"He will try to bring us everywhere (when he goes on official travel duties). When he was the minister of defence, he travelled a lot."

Bekir said he would take at least one of the siblings on these travels.

Their expenses were paid out of Taib's pocket.

"He took us one at a time unless my mother accompanied him and we all got to travel together.

"(The four of us), we got to see a lot of cities and it was also very educational."

Bekir said one advice his father used to hammer to his children was to work hard.

"He always told us to work hard. There is no replacement for hard work," he used to tell us. Bekir said his father told them there is no excuse not to.

Taib was laid to rest next to Bekir's mother, Puan Sri Laila Taib, and Bekir's paternal grandmother at the family's private cemetery in Demak Jaya this afternoon.

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