Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s stand on issues like Sarawak’s demand for greater autonomy and his opposition to a controversial private member’s Bill to strengthen the Shariah courts will likely remain no matter who the next state chief minister is, analysts have said.
Pundits also believe that the Opposition Pakatan Harapan’s chances of winning parliamentary seats in the next general election remain slim because rural voters who make up the bulk of Sarawak’s vote bank will back the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Status quo on policies
“He has created the momentum and awareness for state rights/autonomy which seems unlikely to fall back if the ruling coalition would like to win next election as overwhelmingly as before,” Oh Ei Sun, Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Sarawak autonomy was a crucial campaigning issue that helped boost Adenan and BN during last year’s Sarawak state election. The ruling coalition, led by the late chief minister’s United Bumiputera Pesaka Party (PBB) won a landslide victory and reduced opposition seats, including some of DAP’s urban stronghold.
Another analyst, Faisal Hazis said that the push for Sarawak’s autonomy is now more or less a “state policy” and that Adenan had been working closely with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari on the matter.
“They will of course want to pursue this policy, it’s the main reason it was put on the table during the last state election.
“They (Sarawak BN) do not want to be punished for reneging their promise,” the associate professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Malaysian and International Studies told Malay Mail Online.
Similarly, analysts believe that PBB and by extension the Sarawak government will likely maintain their rejection of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s plans to introduce a private member’s Bill to enhance the powers of the Shariah Courts.
“Especially after the passing away of Adenan, BN would want to respect that decision,” Faisal said.
But he pointed out that Adenan’s successor might not be as vocal as the late CM was, and that this might have an effect even as the state continues to leverage its position with Putrajaya.
“In terms of leadership, Adenan was a very vocal leader, we no longer have someone like Adenan within the Sarawak Cabinet.
“His successor might not want to be as vocal as Adenan if they want to maintain a good relationship with the federal government,” Faisal said.
Sarawak BN to maintain seats in GE14
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Associate Prof Jeniri Amir said that it would be unlikely for Pakatan Harapan parties to be able to win any additional parliamentary seats in Sarawak for the next general election despite BN’s loss of a political figure like Adenan.
“I believe it is going to be more or less status quo. Two-thirds of seats in Sarawak are still rural areas and the people there are still with BN. The only problem is the Chinese-majority seats, where the voters have backed Opposition parties,” he told Malay Mail Online.
Political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung said Adenan’s party colleagues had been aware of his health condition for quite some time, and that despite a loss of leadership it would not adversely affect BN in the next GE.
“It’s not a one man show. He [Adenan] has strength in his team. He also has comrades, people like SUPP Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Tan Sri James Masing. They have highlighted promises following Adenan’s policies like allocation on Chinese vernacular schools. His comrades will now play bigger roles.
“Also, Taib is still in Sarawak and helps to keep things in check. He is the enigma behind the man. 100 per cent sure they will still be as strong in Sarawak,” he told Malay Mail Online, referring to Sarawak governor Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
In a mark of respect, the Sarawak government yesterday declared a seven-day mourning period following Adenan’s death from a heart attack.
Adenan, who would be have turned 73 on January 27, will be buried at the Samariang Muslim Cemetery in Kuching today after the afternoon zohor prayers.
Source : SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL AND JULIA CHAN @ The Malay Mail Online