New Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg’s stand on a number of issues, especially Sarawak autonomy and the proposed shariah Bill amendments, may make or break him, says a think tank.
Speaking to FMT, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) external relations manager Azrul Mohd Khalib said the dynamics between Sarawak and Putrajaya would be tested in the coming months.
“Abang Johari has to figure out what course to take on a myriad of issues and with what backing.”
He said besides the proposed shariah Bill amendments, these issues included oil and gas royalties, administrative positions and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
He said Adenan Satem left big shoes to fill with an 80% approval rating for his administration. Abang Johari clearly must continue the course set by Adenan, he added.
Azrul said one of Adenan’s final instructions to all state Barisan Nasional MPs, including those who are Muslim, was to oppose the private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
The instruction, Azrul said, was intended to emphasise the original spirit of secularism in which Malaysia was formed and the fact that Sarawakians “by and large” reject the notion that religious authorities could interfere or dictate personal beliefs.
He said Putrajaya had said then that it respected Sarawak’s position.
“Whether that respect continues and whether Adenan’s instruction will be heeded by the state MPs will be one of the major challenges facing Abang Johari.
“These will be among the indicators by which Sarawakians will measure him.”
Earlier today, Abang Johari was sworn in as Sarawak’s sixth chief minister, following the death of the popular Adenan earlier this week due to heart failure.
Source : Robin Augustin @ FMT Online