Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem sacrificed himself for the state and her people, according to University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) professor Jeniri Amir.
Jeniri said Adenan knew he was in poor health, but steeled his resolve to fight for the people.
“He was committed to place the people’s interests above his own, even though he had to sacrifice his life,” the academic told Malaysiakini.
Adenan passed away this afternoon just 16 days shy of his 73rd birthday.
The political veteran, who had reportedly succumbed to a cardiac arrest, had spoken of his close shave with death due to a heart ailment four years ago.
“Three years ago, I was very sick. I was at the National Heart Institute (IJN in Kuala Lumpur) and in Singapore.
“And there was a time I thought I was going. I called all my relatives, my children and grandchildren,” the chief minister said in an interview with Bernama prior to the Sarawak state election last year.
Jeniri said because Adenan knew he had limited time, he acted like “a man in a hurry”, who strove to get as much work done as quickly as possible.
Among his achievements, the political science lecturer said, was leading BN to win an overwhelming victory with 72 seats in the state elections last year.
“One of the main factors of that elections was the Adenan factor, with the Adenan ‘fever’ sweeping the state,” he added.
He said Adenan’s approval rating was 85 percent, and that his charming and easy-going personality endeared him to the people.
Adenan took over the post of Sarawak chief minister from his predecessor, Abdul Taib Mahmud, in February 2014
Besides leading BN to a resounding victory, he had also initiated the return of Sarawak’s administrative authority through a 13-point devolution of powers agreement with Putrajaya.
He was also well known for Sarawak-centric policies which at times ran contrary to federal policies such as recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
‘Successor must continue his mission’
Meanwhile, Yayasan 1Malaysia chairperson Chandra Muzaffar described Adenan’s passing not only as a great loss to the people of Sarawak, but to all Malaysians.
“A sincere advocate of Sarawak rights, he was also a courageous champion of Malaysian unity. He realised that to forge solidarity and cohesiveness among all Malaysians, one had to adopt and implement policies that were just and fair to everyone.
“He was an ardent believer in inclusiveness. He was an uncompromising opponent of bigotry and chauvinism,” he said in a media statement.
For unity to become a reality, Chandra said Adenan emphasised equitable development that would bring the hitherto neglected segments of society into the mainstream.
“Development however cannot be divorced from integrity. Adenan took some concrete measures to ensure that corruption and the abuse of power were curbed and controlled.
“His struggle to enhance integrity like his attempt to promote more equitable development and to strengthen Sarawak autonomy within the framework of a united, harmonious Malaysian nation were part of an ongoing agenda.
“He did not accomplish his mission. Much more remains to be done. One hopes that his successor will continue to pursue the goals that Adenan set,” he added.
Source : Zikri Kamarulzaman @ Malaysiakini