KUCHING: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) is in the process of setting up a centre in honour of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who led the state as chief minister for 33 years.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Youth chief Datuk Fadillah Yusof, who is Works Minister, said the centre was proposed by the youth exco recently.
“We want to see that his contributions in the development of Sarawak are honoured as the result of the way he thinks and how he translated his ideas into government policy and implemented it to make Sarawak what it is today in terms of physical, human capital, infrastructure, socioeconomic and overall development when he led the state,” Fadillah said during a press conference with Unimas on Friday.
“At PBB Youth level, we see his contributions as having very big value and that is why we should have it documented, we should see how his ideas can be quantified and how they contribute to the overall development of Sarawak.”
Fadillah said there have been discussions with Unimas on the centre as the university is in Sarawak and was Taib’s brainchild.
“Initially before the discussion with Unimas, PBB Youth wanted to set up an institute – The Thinking Institute of Tun Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud – but Unimas said that there would be many obstacles such as administration, funding and human capital to manage it,” he explained.
Fadillah said Unimas suggested initially using the existing institutes at the university.
“Only when this institute is established will they propose to set up a proper institute to be called Kerusi Tun Pehin Seri Taib Mahmud or Taib Centre of Borneo Studies, which will focus on various fields of research that involve the development of Sarawak,” he explained.
“We will bring the matter to the Chief Minister of Sarawak Tan Sri Adenan Satem soon and for us to present the proposal to get his and the state government’s blessing and later a blessing from the Head of State.”
He said the youth wing would then look into raising an initial fund of at least RM2.5 million for the centre.
“Once established, the centre will do research on politics and development based on Taib’s ideas and the way he thinks.
“It will be translated into the basis of policy and implementation strategy – for example to alleviate poverty in the state, so that we can be a progressive state in Malaysia through our economic income,” he said.
Meanwhile, Unimas vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi said as Sarawak’s premier university, Unimas is proud and honoured to participate in the project.
“As we all know, the university was the brainchild of Tun Taib. And we will continue his legacy. The university will channel whatever resources – expertise, academicians and funds – to contribute significantly to this project to ensure success,” he said.