Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Open and wife Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang represented the state government in paying last respects to the late Tan Sri Celestine Ujang Jilan, describing that the passing of Ujang as a big loss to the state and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
Adding that the late Ujang had sacrificed a lot for Sarawak, Abang Johari said that having personally worked with the late Celestine in PBB as well as the state Cabinet, Celestine was not only a great leader but a friend and colleague who made Sarawak what it was today.
Speaking to reporters at the wake, Abang Johari said that Ujang, a former Kemena assemblyman, entered politics in 1974.
“Celestine was initially Minister of Youth and Sports and became the State Legislative Assembly Speaker and back again to the Cabinet as Minister of Housing and Land Development.
“Together with other PBB members he defended the state government and PBB during the 1987 Ming Court affair and he had contributed to the stability of Sarawak.
“As youth leader of PBB at that time, me and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas had the privilege to work under him as our youth leader.
“When we had a crisis, he volunteered to accommodate the members of another party (Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) by giving his cabinet seat to the party and he even resigned from his cabinet post and gave way to PBDS to have the cabinet seat in the state Barisan Nasional (BN) so as to make it a very strong BN party in the state.
“The sacrifice made by Celestine allowed PBDS to come into the BN fold at that time as part of our government.
“In other words, he set aside his personal interest for more stability of our government.
“Today, we really lost a great leader.”