Datuk Mutang Tagal, Lun Bawang Leader and Senate President, Dies at 69

Datuk Mutang Tagal, Malaysia's 20th Senate President, passed away at 69 due to heart complications. He was a prominent leader from the Lun Bawang ethnic group and a unifying figure in Malaysia's political landscape.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Datuk Mutang Tagal, Lun Bawang Leader and Senate President, Dies at 69

Datuk Mutang Tagal, Lun Bawang Leader and Senate President, Dies at 69

Datuk Mutang Tagal, the 20th President of the Malaysian Senate and a prominent leader from the Lun Bawang ethnic group, passed away on Friday at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur. He was 69 years old.

Why this matters: The passing of Datuk Mutang Tagal marks a significant loss for Malaysia's political landscape, particularly for the Dayak and Lun Bawang communities in Sarawak. His legacy as a unifying figure and advocate for parliamentary reform will have a lasting impact on the country'spolitical future.

Mutang made history in February when he was appointed as the first Senate President from the Lun Bawang community. Prior to his appointment, he had served as a Member of Parliament for Bukit Mas (now Lawas) from 1982 to 1990. He was also the president of the Orang UluChamber of Commerceand Industry.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim paid tribute to Mutang, describing him as a principled individual who upheld goodvalues. "We lost a Senate president who had the capability to elevate the dignity of the Dewan Negara and advocate for the reform of our parliamentary system,"Anwar said.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg remembered Mutang as a good leader who was very fair to all communities. "He was a leader for all communities. We've lost a remarkable and exceptionally fair leader," Abang Johari said. He had visited Mutang at the IJN on Wednesday before his passing.

Mutang had been admitted to the IJN on May 6 after returning early from a working visit to Azerbaijan that began on April 29. Despite hopes of saving him, his condition did not stabilize enough for major surgery.

Funeral arrangements are underway to honor the late Senate President. His remains will arrive at Miri airport on Sunday at 10 am on a Royal Malaysian Air Force Hercules aircraft. A memorial service will be held at the Borneo Evangelical Mission Church in Miri, followed by a formal funeral service on Monday. Mutang will be laid to rest at the Sidang Injal Borneo Lambir Cemetery.

The passing of Datuk Mutang Tagal is a profound loss for the Dayak and Lun Bawang communities in Sarawak, as well as for the nation. As a unifying figure who bridged diverse communities, his leadership and legacy will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him. Mutang's historic appointment as the first Lun Bawang Senate President marked a significant milestone in Malaysia'spolitical history.