PETALING JAYA: A recording of an election campaign press conference by Sarawak Barisan Nasional leader Adenan Satem reportedly shows that he never promised to appoint a deputy chief minister from the Chinese community.
Adenan, who is chief minister, unveiled his new cabinet yesterday and named three new deputy chief ministers, leading to accusations that he reneged on his campaign promise.
Press reports during the campaign said he had purportedly said he would appoint a Chinese DCM if candidates of BN component party SUPP were returned to the assembly.
Adenan has since denied making such a promise and Malaysiakini today published a transcript of a recording from the event where Adenan was heard as saying:
“Of course if the people, the Chinese, wanted to be in the government. And the only way to do that is to vote SUPP. Then of course I would consider to have a Chinese, or a few Chinese in my cabinet, yes. That depends on the numbers, of course. If none of them are elected, I can’t appoint anybody, so you must elect them first. (If) you don’t want, you vote DAP, if you want, you vote SUPP, then there will be Chinese representation in the government as it was before.”
According to Malaysiakini, Adenan was responding to a question on whether he would appoint a Chinese DCM.
He did not specifically state Chinese deputy chief minister but had merely referred to “Chinese representation” whereas the Borneo Post and several Chinese papers had quoted him as promising a Chinese DCM.
He was quoted in the press reports as saying: ““Of course, that is if the people want to be in the government, the only way to do this is to vote for SUPP. If you do not want it, you vote DAP. If you want it, you vote SUPP. And then there will be a Chinese deputy chief minister in the cabinet.”
Yesterday, Adenan named Douglas Unggah Embas, Dr James Jemut Masing and Abang Johari Openg as his deputy chief ministers.
At the elections on May 7, the Barisan Nasional won a landslide victory securing 72 of the 82-seat assembly, with the SUPP making a comeback by winning seven seats after suffering major defeats in 2011. The DAP also won seven seats but suffered five losses of the 12 they previously held.