(Updated 29 April 2009, 7.45pm)
KUCHING, 29 April 2009: Puan Sri Laila Taib, wife of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, died of cancer at 3.45pm at their residence in Demak Jaya here today.
Laila, 68, is survived by her husband and four children, including Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, and 15 grandchildren.
Taib’s press secretary Amin Sahmat said the burial would be held at the Demak Muslim cemetery tomorrow morning.
Among the first dignitaries to pay their last respects at Demak Jaya this evening was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is currently on a two-day official visit to Sarawak, and his wife, Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman.
In recognition of her active involvement in social work, including as Sarawak Badan Amal Dan Tenaga (Sabati) president, Laila was awarded the Darjah Utama Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang, which carries the title Datuk Amar, in 1988.
The Poland-born Laila and Taib were married in Adelaide, Australia on Jan 13, 1959. Three years later, she relocated to Sarawak. Her maiden name was Lejla Chaleck.
In paying tribute to Laila during their 50th wedding anniversary celebration here last 13 Jan, Taib had said she was his pillar of strength and source of inspiration.
“I must acknowledge that it is not easy for any woman to be a politician’s wife. Laila has played a major part in making my life very bearable,” he said. — Bernama