KUCHING: The Sarawak government has declared seven days of mourning following the death of Chief Minister Adenan Satem.
During the mourning period, all government events will be suspended and the state flag will be flown at half-mast.
Tomorrow and Friday have also been declared public holidays in Sarawak.
A state funeral will be held tomorrow and Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to attend, said Deputy Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg.
Adenan’s remains will be taken to Masjid Jamek Sarawak at 10am.
“The people may pay their final respects from 10.30am until zohor,” said Abang Johari.
He said Adenan’s death today was a great loss for Sarawak and the nation at large.
“He had vast governing experience, serving under Najib.”
He said Adenan’s passing was unexpected. He said Adenan was quite cheerful when he and Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas met him yesterday.
“He joked with us.
“We were from the same kampung and I had been with Adenan since our kampung days.
“Adenan was very bright and he mixed with the people — all types. He was humble but had a lot of ideas.
“And I worked with him throughout when we were appointed as assistant ministers (in the state cabinet),” said Abang Johari.
Douglas said Adenan’s death came as a great shock.
“When we met him yesterday, he was jovial and smiling. He was asking about coffeeshop rumours.
“It is a great loss for all of us. He was a statesman and one of the greatest sons of Sarawak who had fought for Sarawak’s rights.”
Born in 1944, Adenan was educated in Australia as a lawyer before entering politics full time.
He won many elections, from the state seat of Muara Tuang to the parliamentary seat of Batang Sadong.
He served in the federal government as a minister and returned home to become chief minister of Sarawak, replacing Abdul Taib Mahmud.