KUCHING: Former Head of State Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng passed away at the age of 100 at the Normah Specialist Medical Center here, at 11.45pm on Friday (Jan 28).
His remains were taken to the Masjid Jamek in Petra Jaya for the last respects between 10.30am to 12pm on Saturday (Jan 29) and was thereafter laid to rest at the Samariang Muslim Cemetery following the Zuhr (noon) prayers.
The late Salahuddin was born on August 27, 1921 in Kampung Nangka Sibu, and made history as the first individual to serve as Head of State twice.
He became the third Head of State from April 2, 1977 to April 1, 1981 and was re-appointed to hold the post in 2001 to 2014 as the sixth Head of State.
In 2000, the late Salahuddin became the acting Head of State while his predecessor Tun Datuk Patinggi Dr Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Muhammed Noor fell ill and later died in December 2000.
He was then reappointed permanently to the post of the Head of State on February 22, 2001 until February 28, 2014.
Better known as Abang Louis among friends especially in his place of birth, he was the only child of Abang Barieng Abang Anyut, a well-known figure in Sibu Division.
The late Tun Salahuddin’s early involvement in the Sarawak civil service began after the Japanese occupation when he was appointed Municipal Inspector until 1947 under the British colonial administration before joining the National Registration Department and the Public Works Department.
Like other youths in Sibu who were active in politics at the time, the late Tun Salahuddin and his comrades formed Barisan Pemuda Sarawak (BPS) and Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak (BARJASA).
He was also the representative of the Melanau community to the Cobbold Commission in the early years before the formation of Malaysia.
In 1963, the late Tun Salahuddin contested a seat and won in the state election. However, he resigned in 1968 and returned to the civil service serving as the chairman of the State Public Service Commission.
Known for his gentle character and orderly speech, the late Tun Salahuddin was known to be a fan of water sports and regatta and would attend the Simanggang Regatta or Pesta Benak.
He was married to Toh Puan Dayang Umi Kalthum who passed away in 1995, with whom he had nine children. In 1996, he married Toh Puan Norkiah @ Rokiah Bagong.
Last year, Toh Puan Norkiah passed away on April 14, 2021 at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).
He left behind one son, eight daughters, four adopted children, 25 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.