Datuk Amar Laila Taib, wife of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, died at her residence at Demak Jaya, Jalan Bako here at 3.40pm yesterday. She was 68.
Family sources said Laila, Sarawak’s First Lady who was born in Poland, had battled cancer for the past few months.
Laila and Taib celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a hotel here three months ago.
At that occasion, Taib paid a glowing tribute to Laila as his pillar of strength and source of inspiration.
He said Laila had stood by him through thick and thin throughout his career as a politician.
Laila and Taib have four children including Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib. The others are Datuk Mahmud Bekir Taib, Jamilah Hamidah Taib and Hanifah Hajar Taib.
Laila will be laid to rest at Demak Jaya burial ground at 11.30am today, said Deputy State Secretary Datuk Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani in a statement.
He said those who wished to pay their last respects should do so before 11am.
Sarawak Governor Tun Abang Muhammed Salahuddin, visiting Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and state cabinet ministers were among the first to pay their last respects last evening.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is also expected to attend Laila’s funeral.
Laila was actively involved in charitable, social, community and religious work through numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
As founder and president of Sabati (Wives of the Sarawak Ministers and Assistant Ministers), she was instrumental in setting up the Sarawak Heart Foundation.
The foundation, of which she had been president since its formation, has raised millions of ringgit and sponsored many needy heart patients for surgeries and treatment in the country and abroad over the years.
Laila also helped to set up an orphanage home named after her in Petra Jaya here.
Laila was head of Perkim (the Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia) women’s wing since 1980.
She also headed Regional Islamic Da’wah Council of Sourtheast Asia and the Pacific (Riseap) since 1983.
She was patron of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society Kuching Chapter, Persatuan Anak-Anak Yatim Sarawak, Sibu Kidney Foundation, Kuching Lions Nursing Home and Sarawak Single Mothers’ Association and Trustee of the Malaysian Humanitarian Foundation