ALL three Deputy Chief Ministers (DCMs) regard Pehin Sri Adenan Satem as a great statesman – one who was fearless and uncompromising, truthful and adamant, amusing and kind.
Adenan, the state’s fifth chief minister, passed away on this date last year – just days before reaching his 73rd birthday.
Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas describes Adenan as his mentor and hero.
Like so many others, the Deputy Chief Minister 1 also called Adenan, ‘Tok Nan’.
“He was a great and highly respected leader. The last state election (in 2016) result was a reflection of Tok Nan’s popularity among the people of all races and religions in Sarawak.
“Tok Nan believed that Sarawakians deserved better. Fearless and uncompromising with unblemished integrity, he used his position to serve Sarawak, to fight for Sarawakians’ rights, and to turn Sarawak into a developed state by 2030,” said Uggah, who is also Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister.
“His (Adenan’s) legacy and contributions to the state will forever be cherished by all Sarawakians, and indeed by Malaysians, everywhere.”
For Deputy Chief Minister 2 Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, he remembers the late leader as ‘a very frank person’.
According to him, Adenan would never mince his words when expressing strong opinions on certain subjects.
“He called a spade, a spade – not something else,” said Masing, who is also Infrastructure
Development and Transportation Minister, when asked recently about what he remembered the most about the former chief minister.
Masing, who is Baleh assemblyman, said Adenan’s love for Sarawak and his dedication to the truth would have made it almost impossible to pin any fault on his administration.
“If only God had given him five more years to administer Sarawak, we might see a country where people are neither judged by race nor religion,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan admits that he still misses the great man, but strives to continue his (Adenan’s) struggles for a better and brighter Sarawak.
The Deputy Chief Minister 3, who is also Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development and Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, acknowledges that Adenan had left an ‘indelible print’ on the state’s political, social, physical and economic landscape.
He says this is something that he knows about Adenan in great depth, being a close friend and a fellow member of the state cabinet – sharing the same political struggles and also leadership in Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the state’s backbone party of Barisan Nasional (BN), for over three decades.
“Adenan was one of my mentors and close confidants. He was an intellectual – a treasure trove of knowledge. At the same time, he was a witty man, with a heart of gold.”
Awang Tengah, who is Bukit Sari assemblyman, is all praise for Adenan’s strong leadership.
“He was my dear friend, a party comrade and a great leader – I miss him dearly. He always put the people and their welfare as top priority. For this, I’m proud to have served under his leadership and his team,” he said.
Awang Tengah sees Adenan as a leader who wanted to see the people respect one another, and was fair to all – the former chief minister had indeed walked the talk with regard to his people-oriented policies, and also in his fight for reinstatement of Sarawak rights after they have been eroded over the years.
“All these are embedded in his legacy – this direction is being carried on by his successor, our current Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, as the new captain of ‘Team Tok Nan’.
“During his short stint as chief minister, Tok Nan chalked up a long list of developments and achievements. His dream was to see a successful and developed Sarawak – for the rural folk to be able to enjoy development, for the poverty rate to be reduced, for abundant employment opportunities, for better education, and also higher awareness of the importance of the English language to ensure a brighter future for the next generation.”
Awang Tengah views the recognition of United Education Certificate (UEC), English as the state’s second official language and also aid worth millions of ringgit for Chinese schools in Sarawak, as ‘unprecedented’.
Sarawakian companies and employees have also benefitted from Adenan’s leadership with the concession by the National Petroleum Corporation (Petronas) to allocate a baseline RM2.1-billion worth of contracts to local companies in the oil and gas industry, subject to the industry’s market conditions affecting the world’s oil price.
The industry has perked up after a long slump.
“In this regard, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari has stepped up and pledged to bring the state to the next level,” Awang Tengah points out.