KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his Syrian wife, Puan Sri Ragad Waleed Alkurdi, were all smiles as they arrived at the hall of the new state legislative assembly complex for their wedding reception. The couple greeted some 500 guests as they walked into the hall beautifully adorned with fresh orchids, Taib in his black tuxedo and Ragad in her white wedding gown, holding a bouquet of roses.
Among the guests were Sarawak head of state Tun Abang Mohammad Salauhuddin Abang Barieng and wife Toh Puan Norkiah and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Yesterday not only marked the wedding reception for the couple, it was also Ragad's 29th birthday.
Addressing the guests, Taib's son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir, said his aunt, Datuk Raziah Mahmud, who is Taib's sister, and her husband, Datuk Robert Geneid, introduced them.
Ragad was born in Damascus, but later moved to Riyadh at an early age. She studied interior design and likes fishing, singing and dancing.
The guests were enlightened when Mahmud recalled his conversation with Ragad five months ago in which she told him that she had dreamt she was going to be married to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia after he had whisked her away in a Rolls Royce.
Taib tied the knot with Ragad on Dec 18, last year at his residence at Demak Jaya, Petra Jaya. It was a private affair where only his family, relatives and a handful of cabinet ministers attended.
Taib's first wife, Puan Sri Laila Taib, a Polish-born Australian passed away in April 2009 of cancer. Married for 50 years, Taib and Laila have four children and 15 grandchildren.
Three of his children, Jamilah Hamidah, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman and Hanifah Hajar Taib, and their families were also at the reception.