Saturday, May 25

‘Next CM will continue my mission’


Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem says all the initiatives that he started could not be fully implemented within his tenure.

However, he stressed he would not continue after his term finished and someone else would have to continue fulfilling the initiatives that he started.

“Five years (as chief minister) is definitely not enough. But as I have said, this is my last term. Someone else will have to continue.

“I have to be realistic. I am 72 now. In four to five years’ time, I would be nearly 77. I don’t think I can carry on after that. After all, I have been elected 11 times. I have been this and that, or another. So I think that’s enough already. I have contributed enough services and it will be time for me to retire,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo at his residence in Santubong.

On his successor, Adenan pointed out that under Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)’s constitution, the party’s caucus would decide the party’s new leader.

“It is for the party to decide. I mean I can’t predict now. It will depend on the situation then. I cannot say who is who then. I would love to do that (pick as successor) but it’s the party’s caucus that would decide,” he said.

Asked if the turmoil in Umno would affect the state in the next parliamentary election, Adenan said Sarawak would not be affected.

Adenan, who is also the state Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman said the reason why Sarawak would not allow Umno into the state was because the population of Sarawak is diverse – unlike Peninsular Malaysia where most of the people are Malays.

“I think one of our best decisions was not to invite Umno to come to Sarawak. I think if we had, we are inviting trouble. One of the reasons why we don’t invite Umno to Sarawak is not because we don’t want Umno, but it is because when you talk about Umno, you mean Malays.

“But in Sarawak, it is not only about the Malays – we have the Ibans, the Bidayuhs, the Orang Ulus and so on; they are not Malays. We must take that reality into consideration. And I am afraid that if Umno were to come here, it would create fear among the non-Malay native population.

“There’s already Umno in Sarawak, except that the name is different. That’s’ PBB. That’s our position,” he pointed out.

Touching on United People’s Party (UPP) and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) application to join BN, Adenan said it would not be easy to admit both parties into the coalition due to the principle of ‘unanimity’ in accepting new members.

“As long as they support BN, that’s all I requested. But if they requested to join BN, Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) will object. And because of the unanimity principle, they will not be admitted into BN. If they objected, there’s nothing I can do.

“But what is important is the people support you. What colour they wear, as long as they support you and when the time comes, they will vote for you. That is even more important. So that’s our position. I have invited these people into the (state) cabinet, so that’s our indication that I want them to support the government,” he said.

On the future of former Teras president, Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom, the chief minister said he would give him more time to decide but at the same time, he stressed that if Mawan were apply to join PBB, he would be accepted like the five partyless assemblypersons whom he admitted into PBB recently.

Adenan was referring to assemblypersons Miro Simuh (Serembu), John Ilus (Bukit Semuja), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu), Paulus Palu Gumbang (Batu Danau) and Dato Gerawat Gala (Mulu).

“I want him (Mawan) to decide. He’s the only one left partyless and I want to give him more time as to what he wants to do. There’s no hurry for this,” the chief minister said.

On the impact of the new party initiated by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), Adenan believed that it would not create any impact in Sarawak as it is a Peninsular Malaysia-based party.

“I don’t think they (PBBBM) would make headway in Sarawak, despite what they said,” he said.

On the speculation that the 14th general election would be held by March next year, Adenan affirmed that the state’s BN would be ready as the election machinery was still intact since the last state polls.

“For the 14th general election, only the prime minister will know. He will decide when. And at this stage, I think he doesn’t know too…”

On the allocation for the private Chinese schools in Sarawak, Adenan disclosed that they would get RM6 million next year as promised.

When he first took office, he had promised that he would increase the amount every year starting with RM3 million in 2014.

“In the last state election, there seemed to have some movement by the Chinese back to the BN. I hoped they would continue to do that. It all depends of our performance. In the last state election, the BN lost in eight Chinese-majority constituencies, but those which the opposition retained were with much reduced margin,” he pointed out.

Touching on the importance of English, Adenan said the state government would give incentives to both private and mission schools promote the language.

“To be realistic, we want to promote the English language. We want it as a medium at school and we want the federal government to approve more schools in Sarawak to use English as their medium of instruction

“Now they (federal leaders) are giving permission, but very limited. We want them to increase the number. The state government will give incentives to private and mission schools to promote English. And we will help as far as we can — we will,” he added.

Meanwhile, in his message for Malaysia Day, the chief minister urged all Malaysians to love Malaysia as it is their only country.

“Malaysia is the only country that we have and don’t ever dream of leaving Malaysia. We will continue to ask for our rights within the constitution, but we will not go further than that.

“So love your country. It’s the only country that you have,” he reminded all Sarawakians.