KUCHING: A state banquet was held to celebrate the 84th birthday of Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex last Saturday evening (Oct 10).
Taib was accompanied by his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib at the banquet.
The event started off with a welcoming Melanau dance performed by a dance troupe from Sekolah Seni Malaysia. It proceeded with a speech delivered by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
After that was the birthday cake cutting ceremony. A tiered cake with a beautiful peacock design and motif was presented to Taib. Joining him in the cake cutting were his wife, Abang Johari and his wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang and other state dignitaries.
After that, there were also a video presentation of well-wishes from the Governor of Penang Tun Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Abbas and Governor of Melaka Tun Mohd Ali Rustam.
Various stage performances were held to entertain the guests while dinner was served. A music group from Sarawak Cultural Village also played one of P Ramlee’s famous song ‘Bunyi Guitar’ using traditional instrument such as the ‘sape’ and bamboo musical instruments.
Other performances included performances by popular singers, tap dancing, and cultural dances representing Sarawak’s unique cultures.
Towards the end, one of the highlights of the event was a special video presentation entitled ‘Abdul Taib Mahmud: An Untold Story’ about Taib’s time at St Joseph’s Secondary School.
The video showed Taib (despite being in a Christian school) never failed to perform his Friday prayers secretly in a classroom after lessons. And due to the lessons timing that prevented him and other Muslims to pray at a mosque back then, he had to seek permission from his principal to attend Friday prayers and the requests were granted.
According to the video, from the year 1995 onwards, all Muslim students of St Joseph’s Secondary School were allowed to leave school early for Friday prayers. Taib was pleased with the video as it brought back memories of his younger days.
The birthday celebration was held in accordance with the prevailing standard operating procedure (SOPs) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among those present at the event were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is minister-in charge of celebration and his wife Datin Seri Enn Ong, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion.