Sunday, March 24

Andrew a great visionary — TYT

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Head of State pays tribute to Andrew for his contribution to higher education in Sarawak

Taib paying his last respects to the late Andrew Wong at Nirvane Memorial Park yesterday. Behind him is Wong.

SIBU: Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has always believed that the late Dato Andrew Wong Kee Yew was a great visionary who set his sights on developing the educational institutions in Sarawak.

Taib said in just a few years, Andrew had played a major role in helping the Sarawak government to set up three major educational institutions – the Sarawak Maritime College, University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) as well as Kolej Laila Taib (KLT).

“He was such a capable person and I never for once doubted his leadership in making things happen,” he added.

Taib was speaking to reporters after paying his last respects to the late Andrew at his wake at Nirvana Memorial Park yesterday afternoon.

He said that was the reason why he recommended the late Andrew for Datukship when he was only 37 years old.

He said although there were many speculations then that he was conferred the Datukship due to his father’s influence, that was actually not the case.

“It was actually his leadership capabilities and his abilities to make things possible that convinced me to recommend him for the Datukship award,’ he added.

Taib said when he heard the late Andrew conducting talks at the KLT graduation he was truly impressed by his courage and vision in bringing about changes in the educational institutions.

‘It’s such a great loss to the people of Sarawak that he had to die at such a young age.”

Taib also expressed regret that Andrew’s tenure as Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) deputy chairman was cut short.

“Otherwise, there is every indication that he could bring about major changes towards the development of Sibu or even upgrade Sibu to a city status,” he said.

Family members of the late Andrew embrace each other as they speak to him in front of his casket.

He hoped the people of Sibu will forever remember Andrew as a man responsible for the development of these three educational institutions in Sibu.

Upon arriving at the Nirvana Memorial Park at Mile 23, Oya Road, Taib and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib were met by Andrew’s parents Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and Datin Sri Pauline Leong Poh Lin and family members.

Upon meeting them, both Wong and his wife broke down as they embraced each other.

It was a sombre scene as silence engulfed the hall.

Wong then led the Head of State and his wife to walk around the casket, a traditional sign of paying respects to the dead.

“Tun has come to see you,” Wong whispered to his late son as Taib stopped and looked at the late Andrew before he moved on.

Leong then embraced Raghad and said they never expected things to happen all so sudden before Raghad broke down and wiped away her tears.

Andrew, 43, was found unconscious by his mother at 9pm on Sunday in his bedroom at their residence in Jalan Ipoh.

Leong immediately called medical personnel from two private medical centres here but efforts to resuscitate Andrew was futile.

He was pronounced dead at 11pm.

The post mortem conducted on Andrew found he had suffered a haemorrhage on the left side of the brain and internal bleeding in his stomach.

District police chief ACP Stanley Jonathan Ringgit said, however, that the cause of death had yet to be ascertained as police were still waiting for further laboratory reports from Sibu Hospital.

Andrew, who is the only son of Wong and Leong, left behind his wife Datin Lily Toh and two teenage children, Sean and Natasha.

He will be cremated today at 8am at Nirana Memorial Park.