KUCHING: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today paid his last respects to the late Tan Sri Celestine Ujang Jilan.
Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, arrived at Ujang's residence in Tabuan Jaya here about 8pm.
He conveyed his condolences to Ujang’s widow, Puan Sri Elizabeth Pawa and the rest of her family. He also extended condolences to the family on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Zahid later told reporters that he had lost a beloved brother in Ujang, whom he had known from his days in the Barisan Nasional Youth movement since 1987.
“Our friendship has been long established. We have been family friends for many years and I regarded his family as my own.
“He entered politics at a young age, and emerged as an exemplary leader to the younger generation.
“I hope his legacy in politics will be continued by (Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister and Ujang’s son-in-law) Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi,” he said.
Zahid said he always made it a point to visit Ujang whenever he visited Sarawak. He had also attended Ujang’s birthday celebration last year.
Ujang, who is the former Kemena assemblyman, passed away at a private hospital at 7.48pm Wednesday. He was 70.
Before retiring from politics in 2001, Ujang had held several portfolios in the state government including as Land Development and Housing Minister.
He had also served as the senior vice-president and youth chief in Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu.