Leaders from both camps of the political divide paid tributes to Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, who died of colon cancer in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night. He was 56.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, on behalf of the state government and the people of Sabah, expressed sadness on the passing of Tawfiq Musa, when interviewed at Raya Mosque, said Tawfiq was a good friend who was noble and kind-hearted.
Tawfiq, who was Apas assemblyman and Umno Tawau chairman, was a working minister who carried out his job responsibly, said Musa while attending the â€˜zohor' and â€˜solat' prayers and paying his last respects to the late Tawfiq who was buried at the Wallace Cemetery in front of Sekolah Islamiah Tawau around 2pm yesterday.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, in expressing his condolences to the family of Tawfiq, said Tawfiq had always been a hardworking and a very â€˜open' leader, as well as being one of the figures of the multiracial unity in the state.
"Of course, we are very sad indeed to hear that Datuk Tawfiq has passed away. He has been a very close friend to me as well as to the other members of the cabinet" Pairin said when met at the 10th anniversary of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) yesterday.
"I think we should always remember him for that (his contributions). I was very close to him as he was my assistant minister before.
"He was very committed to his work and to the people. We wish him well in the next life and may his soul rest in peace" he added.
Others who also paid their last respects were Musa's wife Puan Sri Hajah Faridah Haji Tussin, State Assembly Speaker Datuk Haji Syed Abas Syed Ali, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin and other State cabinet ministers.
Meanwhile, Kinabalu MP Jimmy Wong described Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan's passing as a great loss.
"We'll remember his (Tawfiq) valuable contributions to clean Tawau together in the nineties; I will miss him for a long long time" he said.
Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin said even though Tawfiq and him were from opposite camps in the political divide, he respected Tawfiq as a credible leader in Tawau.
"He had made big contributions to the community and state through his years of public service" said Chan when paying his last respects to Tawfiq yesterday.
Tawfiq's death was announced by his brother Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan via social media.
Nizam said his brother passed away at Prince Court Medical Centre about 11.59pm and his body was flown home to Tawau yesterday morning, accompanied by his family members.
His remains were brought to the family home at Banyan Drive and Raya Mosque for prayers before the burial.
Tawfiq's sister Faridah Abu Bakar Titingan said her brother had been warded at the medical centre on and off since eight months ago for treatment and also underwent surgery for colon cancer.
Tawfiq leaves behind wife Datin Sharifah Rahmah Syed Ali, seven children and five grandchildren.