taib-farewellSarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud bid his final farewell to Puan Sri Laila, at Demak Jaya burial ground, after 50 years of marriage.

Several dignitaries, rival politicians thronged the chief minister’s official residence to pay their last respects to the Polish born, maiden name Lejla Chaleck, 68.

Laila and her family moved to Australia at a young age after Germany invaded Poland during the World War 2.

She met Taib, who was pursuing his law degree in Adelaide, while serving as the assistant secretary of the Islamic Society of South Australia,

Laila was 18 and Taib, 23 when the couple tied the knot on Jan 13, 1959 at the Adelaide Mosque. After completing his studies three years later, Taib brought the family back to Sarawak.

The couple dubbed ‘Sarawak first couple’ recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the state capital on Jan 13. It was Laila’s last public appearance.