KUCHING (April 15): Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah have expressed their condolences upon the passing of Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah Bagong, the wife of former Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.
In a posting on Instagram yesterday, Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah expressed their condolences to the family and said that they also shared in the sorrow of her passing.
Their majesties also hoped that Norkiah’s family members would be patient and be able to endure during this time of grief and loss.
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Among those to pay their last respects to Norkiah and express their condolences to Abang Salahuddin and family at their residence at Sri Impian, Kampung Temenggong in Matang here yesterday were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib; Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang; Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and his wife Datuk Dayang Morliah Awang Daud; and Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industry Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and his wife Datin Masnah Ahmad.
Both Taib and Abang Johari lead prayers and the recital of the Yassin.
Also present were Deputy State Secretary Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, Datuk Khir Busrah — principal private secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, and former Islamic Council president Datu Putit Matzen.
Separately, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, who was at the Samariang Muslim cemetery to pay her last respects yesterday, said Norkiah will be missed by many, especially children at the orphanages in Sarawak.
“Our children at all our welfare institutions such as Rumah Kanak-Kanak Toh Puan Norkiah, Rumah Kanak-Kanak Datuk Ajibah Abol, Rumah Kanak-Kanak Taman Sri Puteri, to name a few, will miss her for her love, care and concern for their wellbeing,” the Dalat assemblywoman said in a press statement.
“During Ramadan month, before Hari Raya, she brought them out to buy new clothes and shoes for Hari Raya.”
Similarly, Fatimah added, the poor and the needy in society will also miss her.
“In fact, her last phone call to me before she fell sick was about asking JKM (Welfare Department) to help find a place to stay for a poor senior citizen who has no family members.
“I will miss our discussions on welfare institutes for that was the area closest to her heart. We will miss her. May Allah grant her rest and peace,” she said.
Norkiah was active in supporting education for children especially those in the rural areas, charities, and the welfare of the orphans in the state.
In recognition of her contributions over the years, a college in Sibu and an orphanage here were named after her in 2016.
A hybrid orchid, the Rhyncholaeliocattleya Toh Puan Norkiah, which is a cross between Cattleya Intermedia and Rhyncholaeliocattleya EZO Robin’s Magic, was named after her in 2011.
She married Abang Salahuddin in 1996, and had five children and one grandchild.
Born on Sept 19, 1949 here (Kuching), Norkiah previously worked at the State Library.