Kuching – The name of the late Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, Sarawak’s third chief minister and former governor, is etched in many important events in the country’s history, says Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
He said Abdul Rahman, a great son of Sarawak, had not only carved an excellent name in the state, but was also renowned as a figure of no less importance in the formation of Malaysia.
He said, besides being a major leader who gained the trust of Malaysia’s ‘Father of Independence’ Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra to bring together, Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia, he was also involved in eliminating the threat of communism in Sarawak in the 70’s.
In addition, Adenan said the setting up of many more important national entities, including the Sarawak Foundation, Rajang Security Area (Rascom) and Petronas, were inspired by Abdul Rahman, whom he regarded as a wise figure and a “golden son of Malaysia”.
“He was a brilliant figure from the start, developing the state wisely, and succeeded in bringing peace and development to the country…we will miss him,” he said when met at Abdul Rahman’s residence here today.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman’s nephew, Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, said he prayed that his uncle’s soul was showered with mercy, and offered condolences to his family.
He said Abdul Rahman’s deeds and services to the nation were well-known, so were his unrivalled charisma and brilliance.
Abdul Rahman was the third chief minister of Sarawak when he served between 1970 and 1981, and subsequently became governor between 1981 and 1985.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said, other than being remembered as a national education figure, Abdul Rahman would surely be remembered as a great orator.
“While in high school, every time I heard his talk or speech, I would be spellbound. His eloquence in his oratory was like a magnetic effect which attracted the attention of listeners,” she noted.
“It is not wrong if I refer to him as a ‘Malaysian Sukarno’, his remarkableness will continue to be etched in my soul, in the people of Sarawak and Malaysia,” said the Batang Lupar member of parliament.
Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof hoped Abdul Rahman’s contributions and greatness would be compiled into a book for reference by the present and coming generations so that the spirit of his struggle was eternal.
“This will also ensure that all will realise that everything that is enjoyed by Sarawak and Malaysia currently are the result of his contributions,” he said.
For former Sarawak police commissioner, Tan Sri Hamdan Sirat, 94, the security achieved by Sarawak was the result of Abdul Rahman’s seriousness in tackling the communist threat.
“He gave his full attention towards solving the communist threat, convened meetings of the divisions in Sarawak, met then-Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, which all led to the formation of Rascom on March 26, 1972,” he said.
Hamdan said after Rascom was formed, the situation in Sarawak improved as communist threat was overcome, leading to the Sri Aman Agreement on Oct 21, 1973 between the state government and the North Kalimantan People’s Party (Paraku), to end the insurgency in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said the facts recorded in the history of national education clearly proved Abdul Rahman’s significant contributions.
“As education minister, his contributions were huge. He paid a tremendous amount of attention on the issue of education, including the national language, Bahasa Malaysia,” said Othman who paid his last respects to Abdul Rahman, on behalf of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
Othman served in Sarawak as Jakim director between 2000 and 2004. – Bernama