He made Sarawak the first state in Malaysia to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) issued by Chinese schools.
PETALING JAYA: The late Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem will be greatly missed by the Chinese community for his support of Chinese schools.
He was after all the only state leader who recognised the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), said Vincent Lau, the chairman of United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong).
Speaking to FMT, Lau said Adenan’s support for UEC had successfully highlighted to the federal government the importance of the certificate.
“He did not even hesitate when he made the decision to recognise UEC after assuming the chief minister role.
“We saw him trying very hard to convince the federal government (to adopt a similar stand) on UEC.”
Adenan, who led Sarawak for almost three years, had shown great care for the Chinese in the state.
By recognising the UEC, he had also paved the way for the certificate holders to enter the state’s civil service.
On top of that, he kicked off his tenure in 2014 by allocating RM3 million in funding for 14 of the state’s Chinese independent schools. By last year, the amount increased to RM5 million.
“There aren’t many politicians who are brave, like him,” said Lau, who is also a Sarawakian.
“He had done a lot for Sarawak in the past three years, including promoting harmony among all races.”
Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim echoed the same sentiments, telling FMT Adenan was an exceptional leader who was not afraid to go against the federal government on matters of public interest.
“Adenan’s death is a big loss to Sarawak and to the whole country as he always defended the interests of all Malaysians.
“He was not afraid to speak up for Chinese education and the UEC.
“He also stood up against those who claimed the Chinese are pendatang (immigrants) by saying that they too are citizens of this country, just like the rest of us.”
He then pointed to Adenan’s independence from other Barisan Nasional leaders, by encouraging Sarawak to reject outdated policies and firmly stating his decision to have the state’s education determined by Sarawakians themselves.
“Sarawak must find a leader in his mould. Take a few days but get it right.
“Otherwise, the state will not progress.”
Adenan died from heart complications at the Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Samarahan around 1.20pm today.
He is survived by his wife, Jamilah Anu, and five children.