Hornbill Unleashed

February 14, 2014

‘Back in favour’ Adenan Satem steps into Sarawak’s hot seat

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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theantdaily team

The man once out of favour in Sarawak politics, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, is now back to claim the state’s most coveted post as the chief minister. But Adenan will find it tough to emulate the total dominance that Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud imposed on the state in his 33 years at the helm.

Even before Adenan was officially named by Taib as his successor, rumblings had been heard from the grassroots regarding the succession issue.

Adenan and the other two contenders for the post – Datuk Amar Abang Johari and Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hassan – were absent when Taib made the announcement in Kuching today.

Adenan will officially assume the CM’s post on Feb 28.

Adenan’s appointment was expected as he has been perceived as the most trusted lieutenant among Taib’s team following his return to favour after the 2011 Sarawak election.

Taib had earlier met Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Muhammad Salahuddin at the Astana where he handed in his letter of resignation.

Taib’s resignation will take effect on Feb 28.

In his brief take with reporters waiting outside the Astana, Taib said Adenan was chosen to succeed him because “everyone has expressed their confidence in him to lead Sarawak”.

“I have no doubt I have chosen the right man as my successor,” he said, flanked by a host of his state Cabinet members.

Taib said Adenan’s name was recommended to Salahuddin, which the latter agreed to.

He added that the swearing-in ceremony for the new chief minister was also scheduled for Feb 28.

Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that Taib has pushed forward his plan to announce his choice for CM to today instead of Saturday (Feb 15) due to a purported Umno move to persuade him to choose Abang Johari.

Interestingly, Umno deputy president and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is currently in Sarawak for an official visit, according to Bernama.

Taib’s preference for Adenan lends credence to his stand of “Sarawak for Sarawakians” as it was generally felt that Adenan would likely continue the policy of letting the state be managed by Sarawak-based parties. The four BN parties in Sarawak control more than two-thirds majority in the state legislative assembly.

Wary of Sarawakians’ dislike for Umno’s extremist policies, Taib’s “Sarawak for Sarawakians” slogan has resonated with the people in the state. The chief minister is aware that this stand which he has strongly advocated is something which his fellow Sarawakians can clearly identify with.

Currently, Adenan is State Minister for Special Function and PBB information chief. He is considered a worthy successor to Taib because of his long political career both at state and federal level.

A former journalist, magistrate and lawyer before venturing into politics more than 30 years ago, the father of five is married to Puan Sri Datuk Jamilah Anu.

Adenan considers himself an amateur historian, citing his hobbies as golfing, fishing, reading, singing, hunting and writing. Born in 1944, he did his primary and secondary schooling in St Joseph, Kuching before completing his tertiary education at the University of Adelaide.

Adenan’s major drawback is his health. He is said to have a pacemaker and has to make regular trips to the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur to monitor his condition. The question arises whether he is fully fit for the hectic schedule that goes with the job of chief executive of a state.

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