Monday, 3 March 2014

Bekir may become a politician ‘when time is right’

Bekir and Hanifah speaking to reporters at the Astana yesterday.

KUCHING: Dato Sri Mahmud Bekir Taib is not dismissing the possibility that he will join politics when the time is right.

He was diplomatic when asked to comment that his name had sprung up as favourites by election observers to replace his father Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in the state seat of Balingian.

Taib gave up that seat in order to become the new Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

“There is actually nothing I can do to stop people from coming up with names of potential candidates,” Bekir told reporters after the swearing in of the new chief minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem at the Astana yesterday.

Bekir said his family had always been proud of his father’s hard work and dedication to the people of Sarawak, and said it would only be natural for his (Taib) love of the state to grow on them as his children.

“I am always ready to serve Sarawak for the betterment of the people and the state, but which may not necessarily be through politics.”

When asked if he would be pursuing his career as a politician, Bekir said everyone should just wait and see as he preferred to provide support to the local political scene from behind the curtains in his capacity as a corporate figure.

Meanwhile, Datuk Hanifah Taib said it was now the Chief Minister’s (Adenan) decision to choose a suitable candidate for the Balingian by-election, adding any names mentioned now were mere rumours.

“Rumours are rumours. It is now up to the Chief Minister to decide. Right now I do not want to make any speculations or assumptions,” she added.

When asked if she would be a candidate if given the chance, Hanifah quickly snubbed the idea, saying she preferred to continue with her charity work and own businesses due to her little interest in politics.

On their father’s resignation as the chief minister, both siblings said it came as no surprise.

“After the last state election, my father did announce it will be his last term, and since then a proper and smooth transition became his priority,” said Hanifah, adding the family was happy as long as he (Taib) was happy with the decision.

Working for more than 50 years in the state’s political arena and becoming the main driving force, Hanifah said Taib’s dedication had also brought many challenges to the family’s personal lives.

“Nevertheless, what he did was for the betterment of the people and for the greater cause. We have sacrificed a lot of things and we also hope to spend more time with him after this.”

She said Taib would miss interacting with his friends and colleagues whom he had worked with for a very long time.

On a more personal note, Bekir said his father once said he felt sad he could not retire when their mother (Laila) was still alive.

According to him, both his parents had made plans to enjoy retirement by travelling and spending more time together.

“After her passing, my father said he had wished to retire earlier to reward her for the years of support. That is what he told me,” Bekir said in a sad tone. - theborneopost

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