WHEN Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud steps down today, the era of his leadership as Chief Minister of Sarawak will come to an end but the legacy of development and progress he leaves behind is poised for further growth.
His tenure at the helm saw a period of unparalled growth that transformed the state from one of the poorest in the nation into one on the threshold of a high income society.
When Taib took over as Chief Minister from his uncle Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub in 1981, 70 per cent of the people were living below the poverty line but today, 33 years later, the poverty rate in the state is just 2.5 per cent.
Sarawak is on the cusp of achieving its goal as an industrialised and high-income society. The phenomenal growth of the state’s economy was the result of Taib’s vision and ability to maintain political stability despite challenges of the state’s multi-ethnicity.
Taib’s contribution to the state’s growth is best summed up by his designated successor Tan Sri Adenan Satem who recently described him a ‘one in a million’ leader.
Adenan said there is only one Taib Mahmud and there will never be another like him, quoting a line from a popular song … out of the million stars in the universe, you are the one that shines.
However, the true greatness of a leader is not only measured by what he has achieved during his term in office but more by the opportunities for further development he leaves for his successor.
This is one aspect of Taib’s leadership often overlooked as accolades and tributes pour in for his Chief Ministership par excellence.
A look at the direction he has steered Sarawak into in terms of development growth today through his astute planning and foresight leaves no doubt that his impeccable track record is not quantified solely by what he has achieved but equally so, by the development initiatives he has put in place to ensure continuity of progress for the state after his tenure.
Taib’s shoes are admittedly too big for a single person to fill but through his visionary development strategies such as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), he has left a blueprint for leaders coming after him to implement and achieve as a team.
While Sarawak will miss Taib’s leadership, there is no danger of the state’s progress coming to an abrupt stop because he has made sure plans he laid out to take the state to even greater heights will be carried out by the leaders he has groomed over the years.
Taib’s retirement will not mark the end of an era of growth. Rather, it will herald — and ensure — the continuation of the development tempo he has initiated.
During his stewardship, Sarawak has attained unprecedented socio-economic development and what will be just as significant is the potential for growth he has created for the state when he hands the leadership baton to Adenan.
Taib has made sure the best is yet to come for Sarawak after he retires – that is the true measure of his in comparable contributions to the people. - theborneopost