Saturday, December 14

Previous Chief Ministers of Sarawak


First Chief Minister

Stephen Kalong Ningkan

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan (1920-1997) was the first Chief Minister of Sarawak from 1963 to 1966.

DOB: Aug 20, 1920 in Betong, Sarawak.

School: St Augustine’s
· Mixed Iban and Chinese parentage
· Chinese name: Mok Teck Boon
· Grandfather Mok Bak Seng born in Namhoi, Kwangtung Province, China in 1870. He took 6-year-old Ningkan to China so he could learn the culture and way of life there. Mok died on Oct 20, 1963.
· Ningkan’s mother Kuni Karong died of stomach complications on June 14, 1969.
· Ningkan learnt the Japanese language during the Japanese Occupation of Sarawak.

He loved singing and movies. The Japanese song ‘Kuni No Hana’ (Flower of the Nation) and Terang Bulan were among his favourites. He was also a fan of P Ramlee’s movies.

· Rubber Fund clerk from 1938 to 1939.
· Joined the Sarawak Constabulary from 1940 to 1946. He was the Police Constable in 1942.
· Joined the Service Reconnaissance Department in 1944, an underground movement based in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu).
· Became a teacher in St Augustine’s from 1947 to 1950.
· Worked at a Shell Company hospital in Kuala Belait, Brunei for several years. While there, he was chairman of the Shell Dayak Club. He also took up law via correspondence from Regent Institute and Metropolitan College at St Albans, London respectively.
· He was founder and president of the Sarawak Dayak Association from 1958 to 1960.
Political Career
· Ningkan returned to Betong and with other founding members, established the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) on April 10, 1961.
· 1962 election saw SNAP winning many seats, earning Ningkan the trust to become the first Chief Minister of Sarawak.
· In October 1962, Ningkan played an important role in forming the Sarawak Chapter of Alliance Party and served as its secretary-general.
· Ningkan was appointed the first chief minister of Sarawak on July 21, 1963 by then governor Sir Alexander Waddell.
· The 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis saw Ningkan being ousted from office on June 16, 1966 but eventually reinstated by the Borneo High Court on Sept 7, 1966. The Malaysian government amended the Sarawak Constitution to give the Sarawak governor the right to commence the Council Negri meeting. A vote of no confidence was passed on Sept 23, 1966 resulting in the removal of Ningkan from the chief minister office for the second time.

Ningkan died peacefully aged 76 on March 31, 1997 at the Normah Specialist Medical Centre, Kuching.

His funeral was held at St Thomas’ Cathedral and Ningkan was buried at The Anglican Cemetery at Jalan Batu Kitang. The lyrics of Terang Bulan are engraved on the back of his tombstone.

Awards: DA, PNBS, PDK, PPM (1st Class)

DCM: James Wong Kim Min

Succeeded by: Tawi Sli

President of SNAP from 1961 – 1974

Succeeded by Dunstan Endawie Enchana

Children (7):
1. Paul Murphy Ningkan
2. Marina Siew Ling Ningkan
3. Flora Ningkan
4. Diana Inoi Ningkan
5. Winston Beng Wai Ningkan
6. Marharet Ningkan
7. Gerald Bala Ningkan

Occupation: Politician
Religion: Christian

Second Chief Minister

Tawi Sli

Dato’ Penghulu Tawi Sli (June 12, 1912 – 1987)
Born in Banting, Sarawak and received formal education at St Thomas school in Kuching until Form 3.
· Teacher at a mission school while undergoing a three-year training programme to become a pastor.
· Served as a clerk with the government until he retired in 1961.
· Appointed Penghulu in 1963 and he started to become active in politics. He was secretary of SNAP Simanggang branch. He later resigned and joined Parti Pesaka Sarawak in 1966.
· Tawi Sli was appointed chief minister of Sarawak by then Governor, Abang Haji Openg during the 1966 Sarawak Constitutional Crisis.

He was chief minister for three months before the Borneo High Court reinstated Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the legitimate chief minister. Tawi Sli was later sworn in as chief minister for the second time on Sept 23, 1966 following the successful ousting of Ningkan from the chief minister’s post.

· Tawi Sli retired from politics in 1974 and later became involved in business until his death in 1987.
· He was succeeded by Abdul Rahman Yakub.

Third Chief Minister

Abdul Rahman Yakub

Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Yakub (Jan 3, 1928), of Melanau descent from Mukah was the third Chief Minister of Sarawak and the fourth Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak (Governor Sarawak).

Born in Kampung Jepak, Bintulu, Sarawak to fisherman Tuan Wan Yakub bin Wan Yusuf and Siti Hajar bt Haji Mohd Tahir a housewife.

Rahman Yakub first attended a Malay school then Sekolah Anchi in Miri. He later transferred to St Joseph Miri until his studies was interrupted by the Japanese invasion.

Rahman Yakub was very active in sports during his schooldays, especially football. In his later years, he enjoyed playing golf. Rahman Yakub is very religious and even conducted free religious classes for public after leaving active politics in 1985.


He worked as an oil-tester for Sarawak Shell Company and as a school teacher before being accepted as a Native Officer in the Sarawak Civil Service in 1948.

Rahman Yakub graduated from University of Southampton in the United Kingdom as a trained lawyer and worked as a deputy public prosecutor in the Sarawak Legal Department from 1959 to 1963. He was the first Bumiputera from Sarawak to graduate as a lawyer in 1958 from Lincoln’s Inn.

The first Prime Minister of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman bought Rahman Yakub into politics while the second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak mentored him.

Rahman Yakub was the deputy Lands and Mines Minister in the 1960s.

Rahman Yakub was one of the proponents for Malaysia creating its own oil company, now known as Petronas.

He also founded the now defunct Bank Utama Berhad in Malaysia.

Rahman Yakub was education minister before returning to Sarawak to become chief minister in 1970. He made a bold move by changing the medium of instruction for all schools and higher learning institutions from English to Malay language. He was also credited for the creation of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1970. He also abolished the primary six common entrance examinations to enable primary six pupils to continue with their secondary education.

Rahman Yakub won the Kuala Rajang state constituency during the resumption of the 1969 state election in 1970 representing Parti Bumiputra Sarawak (BUMIPUTERA) which was part of the Sarawak Alliance. The election results did not yield any party with a clear majority. Rahman was able to convince SUPP to form a coalition government with him as the chief minister.

He was called by Tun Abdul Razak to tackle the communist insurgency in Sarawak. Peace was restored when Bong Kee Chok together with 482 communist guerillas surrendered their arms in 1974 after the Sri Aman Operation Rahman Yakub initiated.

He stepped down on March 26, 1981 as chief minister after undergoing heart surgery in London. He became Governor of Sarawak from April 2, 1981 until April 2, 1985 before quitting due to health reasons.

Abdul Taib Mahmud succeeded Rahman as chief minister.

Spouse(s): Toh Puan Normah (Deceased), Toh Puan Siti Maemunah
Religion: Islam

Fourth Chief Minister (after Feb 28, 2014)

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (born May 21, 1936 in Miri, Sarawak) was the fourth chief minister of Sarawak. He was also the state Financial Minister and Resource Planning and Environment minister.

Taib is the president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) which is part of the Barisan Nasional coalition. He is of Melanau descent.

Holding the post of chief minister of Sarawak, Taib is the longest serving chief minister in Malaysia. He is also the second longest serving parliamentarian in Malaysia after Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Early years

Born in impoverished circumstances in 1936, Taib was raised by his uncle Tun Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Yakub. Taib’s early schooling was at St Joseph’s primary school in Miri and he later won a scholarship to study in St Joseph’s secondary school in Kuching. After school he planned to become a doctor but was persuaded by Rahman Yakub to take up law.

In 1958, his excellence in the Higher School Certificate examination earned him a Colombo Plan scholarship allowing Taib to read law at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. He graduated in 1960 with Bachelor of Laws.

After the demise of his father, Taib took his siblings under his wing and disciplined them in studies and in looking after the household.

Taib pursued his postgraduate studies at Harvard International Summer course in 1964. He has written and published several Islamic books and works. Taib is also an ardent fan of P Ramlee.


On returning to Sarawak in 1962, Taib worked in the Crown Council from 1962 to 1963. He then joined the State Legislative Council of Sarawak on July 22, 1963 and was appointed state minister for communications and works from 1963 to 1966 and minister of Development and Forestry in 1967.

He was vice chairman of Parti Berjasa Sarawak in 1964.

Taib was appointed Federal Assistant Minister for Commerce and Industry from 1968 to 1970. He represented Parti Bumiputera Sarawak (BUMIPUTRA) which was a component party of the Sarawak Alliance in the Malaysian general elections of 1969. During the 1970 parliamentary election for Sarawak, he was elected MP for Kota Samarahan seat.

He was later appointed to numerous portfolios including deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (1970-1972) and Minister for Natural Resources (1972-1974).

In 1973, Taib was appointed deputy president of the newly formed Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) before subsequently becoming president of the party.

Abdul Rahman Yakub was Taib’s political mentor for 20 years.

After winning the Sebandi seat (now Asajaya) by election in 1981, Taib was appointed State Minister for Land and Mines before succeeding Abdul Rahman Yakub as Chief Minister of Sarawak. He held the Sebandi seat until 1987 and won the seat which was renamed Asajaya constituency.

In the 2001 state election, Taib decided to contest in Balingian which he won.

Taib served in many public and voluntary bodies and represented the government at various international conferences.

In 1985 Taib removed Abdul Rahman Yakub from the office of Governor of Sarawak, a move which was one of the catalysts that led to a political crisis culminating in the Ming Court Affair in 1987.

Taib outmaneuvered his rivals by calling a snap state election in 1987 where he won by a narrow margin. His coalition had won 28 out of the 48 seats in the state assembly which was later boosted when he received 8 assemblymen who defected from PBDS.
Taib’s vision for Sarawak to become the richest state in Malaysia by 2020 saw manufacturing, industrial and tourism sectors given special attention. Town planning, natural resources planning, large scale plantations and native customary land development were also endorsed.

Sarawak became the first state in Malaysia to fully implement e-government initiatives while the Sarawak State Library is the first e-library in Malaysia.

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) introduced in 2008 is aimed at diversifying the future economy of Sarawak.

Higher education for Sarawakians have also been emphasised with the state investing in developing new institutions.

Despite the onslaught of attacks by the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, Taib led PBB to a clean sweep of all seats contested in the 2011 state election thus winning an eighth consecutive term as chief minister.


In July 2010, Taib received the “Lifetime Achievement” by Asia HRD Congress for his contributions towards human capital development in Sarawak especially for the establishment of University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

In December 2001, he was appointed “Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia” for “service to The Australian – Malaysian bilateral relations”.

Taib also holds numerous honorary degrees from universities including, an Honorary Degree from the University of Adelaide, Australia; an Honorary Doctorate from Universiti Putra, Malaysia; Honorary Doctor of Technology Degree from Curtin University of Technology, Australia and Honorary Fellow of Islamic Academy of Sciences at the Islamic Academy of Sciences, Amman, Jordan.

Spouse(s): Laila Taib (1959 – 2009 Deceased)
Ragad Waleed Alkurdi (Married in 2010)

Children: Jamilah Hamidah Taib
Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib
Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib
Hanifah Hajar Taib

Occupation: Politician
Religion: Islam