KUCHING: Yesterday marked the beginning of realising a wish of the founding president of the Association of Wives of State Ministers, Assistant Ministers and State Assemblyman (Sarawak Badan Amal Tenaga Isteri-isteri — Sabati), the late Datuk Patinggi Dr Laila Taib.

She wished that Sabati would have its own building, and then yesterday Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated at the launch of Wisma Sabati project at Jalan Bako.

Among those who attended the ground-breaking ceremony were Taib’s 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, and Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Taib Mahmud (six right) placed his hand on a tablet device to launch the Wisma Sabati Project as Ragad (seventh right), Abang Johari Tun openg (fifth right), Juma’ani (sixth left), Uggah (fourth right), Awang Tengah (third right), DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar (second right), former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang (right), Zaliha (left) and other Sabati executive committee members look on during the launching ceremony of Wisma Sabati Project at its project site in Demak, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

“Previously, Sabati operated from borrowed or rented premises, and it has been a dream of our members since the early days to have our own building where we can operate and raise steady revenue,” said said Sabati’s honorary secretary Datin Dr Zaliha Abdullah who was grateful that soon the organisation will finally have its own premises.

She said Wisma Sabati will have three main blocks — a multi-purpose hall, an auditorium and an administrative block.

The hall will house four badminton courts and will be able to accommodate 50 banquet tables or 500 guests at a time, while the auditorium will have a seating capacity of 250. The administrative block will house offices, conference rooms, a canteen, and prayer facilities.

The construction of Wisma Sabati is expected to start this coming September.

“Sabati which is currently helmed by Juma’ani, assists the less fortunate and the needy with special emphasis on, but not confined to, women and children,” said Dr Zaliha, adding that the organisation’s other area of focus is the environment.

During its early years after its establishment in 1982, Sabati helped numerous patients especially babies and young children in rural Sarawak to undergo life-saving heart operations.

Today, Sabati continues to assist those in need of medical treatment by donating additional medical equipment or updating those currently used in hospital and clinics in the state.

Dr Zaliha also highlighted Sabati’s other efforts such as supporting other non-governmental organisations (NGO) and welfare organisations, as well giving donations to individuals who require financial assistance to purchase medical supplies for the sick or elderly at home.

“Sabati is open to all regardless of race or religion,” Dr Zaliha said.