Analysts agree that whoever replaces Adenan as Sarawak chief minister will have his work cut out for him.
PETALING JAYA: Political analysts believe whoever becomes the next Sarawak chief minister will have his work cut out for him, following the death of Adenan Satem today.
“Adenan is the father of Sarawak autonomy. The person who replaces him must make sure autonomy issues regarding gas and oil royalties, MA63 (Malaysian Agreement 1963), and education affairs will be solved,” said Universiti Malaya political analyst Awang Azman Pawi.
Universiti Sarawak Malaysia political analyst Jeniri Amir agreed with his counterpart, saying that Adenan set the benchmark for the state’s leadership, making him “very popular”.
“Adenan left big shoes to fill so whoever replaces him will be faced with a huge mountain to climb,” he said.
“The most important thing is that his replacement must continue where Adenan left off. Failing to do this will not only be a disappointment to Adenan’s legacy, it will also be a disappointment to the people of Sarawak.
“Every policy and measure he put in place received great support from Sarawakians. That’s why his popularity rating was at more than 80%.”
Both Awang Azman and Jeniri agree that Deputy Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg is the most likely candidate to replace Adenan, followed by Trade and Investment Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas.
Abang Johari is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president and Satok assemblyman. His father the late Abang Openg Shapie was the state’s first governor.
Abang Johari, better known as Abang Jo, is in charge of the Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
Awang Azman, however, said in Sarawak the caucus system would be used to determine the next chief minister. This was how Adenan had been chosen in the past.
“Sarawakians believe the caucus system will decide the best candidate. This system proved it through Adenan’s leadership as chief minister,” he said.
In the PBB, whoever is chosen as the chief minister is automatically appointed as party president.
The choice is not dependent on who is on top but is decided by the delegates during the triennial assembly.
Through the caucus, Adenan had replaced long-serving chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud on March 1, 2014.
According to Awang Azman, Awang Tengah is considered a Taib Mahmud loyalist.