10 Reasons Why Adenan Satem Is Winning The Hearts Of Sarawakians - The Coverage
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10 Reasons Why Adenan Satem Is Winning The Hearts Of Sarawakians

Despite being part of the scandal-laden BN political party, Adenan Satem seemed to be pushing all the right buttons to reach the heart of Sarawakians.

Talk about Malaysia’s Barisan National (BN) political party and most will reply with an endless barrage of hate and disapproval. In Sarawak however, one BN man is apparently doing all the right things to capture the heart of Sarawakians.

Malaysian opinion has largely swayed against BN for the last several years after several scandals surfaced involving the political giant. Despite being part of the scandal-laden BN political party however, Adenan is doing a very good job promising the right things, and getting them done (so far). Love him or hate him, it appears that approval ratings are up, which is good news for BN who is losing influence in the peninsula.

So what has Adenan been doing right, only shortly after taking over from the highly criticised former Chief Minister Taib Mahmud?

1. He Made A Pledge Against Nepotism

Taib is sad to hear that...

Taib is sad to hear that…

While it seemingly made sense to most people, Adenan is the first minister in Sarawak to ever sign an integrity pledge in which he committed not to award public contracts to his family members. It has fairly common that the old Sarawak government and its former CM Taib Mahmud to award contracts to friends and families, although they have been denying these allegations for years.

While Sarawak is one of the 13 states of Malaysia, there are differences in terms of culture and tradition between Borneo and the peninsula. Many are also unhappy that the federal government has been largely ignoring the pleadings for improvements, only showing up when there are elections coming up.

Since last June, Adenan has been outspoken about restoring Sarawak’s autonomous rights. Restoration of their autonomous powers will see Sarawak have more say and freedom, and Adenan have proved himself capable when he said he had successfully negotiated the devolution of power to Sarawak by securing 13 provisions of administrative empowerment – including the need for Putrajaya to consult them, when it comes to laws that might affect them.

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2. The Promise of An Autonomous Sarawak

kuching_Sarawak

While Sarawak is one of the 13 states of Malaysia, there are differences in terms of culture and tradition between Borneo and the peninsula. Many are also unhappy that the federal government has been largely ignoring the pleadings for improvements, only showing up when there are elections coming up.

Since last June, Adenan has been outspoken about restoring Sarawak’s autonomous rights. Restoration of their autonomous powers will see Sarawak have more say and freedom, and Adenan have proved himself capable when he said he had successfully negotiated the devolution of power to Sarawak by securing 13 provisions of administrative empowerment – including the need for Putrajaya to consult them, when it comes to laws that might affect them.

3. He Made English The Official Language In Sarawak

english-keyboard

Last November, Adenan announced that Sarawak has adopted English as the official language of the state administration, apart from Bahasa Malaysia. The controversial decision saw criticism and opposition even from all sides, many accusing him of being not nationalistic or patriotic.

He does not seem to care, stating “Whether they agree with me in the Semenanjung (peninsula) or not, I don’t care.”. He was also quoted saying that he wasn’t being unpatriotic, just being practical and logical. While many from west Malaysia is unhappy, it appears that Sarawakians themselves applaud the decision.

4. He Led The Decision To Recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)

spm_uec

The UEC is the Chinese independent school qualification equivalent of STPM or O-levels, and is a major headache for independent school students because the certificate is not recognised by the other states of Malaysia, and thus these poor students have to take BOTH exams right now. This move alone will score him the love of the Chinese people – the one perceived by the government as the most critical of their administration.

See, the Chinese people are not that hard to please right?

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5. He Allowed The Use Of ‘Allah’ By Christians

allah

While peninsula Malaysia has officially forbidden the use of the Arabic word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims (which is funny because it only meant ‘God’), Adenan reversed the decision in Sarawak, pledging that while he is Muslim himself, he will not interfere with how non-Muslims practice their religion.

“You can use ‘Allah’ any time you want. No problem. Just use it with respect.” He said.

6. He Defended Other Races, Shuns The Word ‘Pendatang’

multiracial-malaysia

Malay supremacist groups in Malaysia likes to call the non-Malay races ‘Pendatang’ or migrants, even though some of the Malay, Chinese and Indians races have been living in the countries for generations, spanning hundreds of years.

During Chinese New Year earlier this year, Adenan paid a tribute to the Chinese for their contributions to the state, and told the community that they should rightfully regard Malaysia as their home.

“You are not pendatang. If any of your friends from the peninsula call youpendatang, to hell with them. You are Malaysians of Chinese origin, this is your land,” he reportedly said at a function.

7. He Removed ‘Lain-lain’ In Government Official Forms

lain-lain-dayak

The original races of Sarawak – the Dayaks had to endure the insult of having to choose ‘lain-lain’ in their official forms, even if they are the original inhabitants in Sarawak.

Adenan played an important role in getting them their official race status, and the cabinet finally approved ‘Dayak’ as a category on official government forms while also deciding to abolish the use of ‘lain-lain’ racial category on government forms last month.

While we think the need of recording your race is unnecessary in the first place, but well – baby steps right.

8. The Abolishment Of All Tolls In Sarawak

sarawak-toll

The opposition pushed for it, the federal government promised to get rid of it (but ended up extending it), but it was Adenan who actually did abolished tolls in his state. Sarawaks’s last toll operated during 2015’s New Years Eve, and since that momentous day there had been no tolls in Sarawak ever since.

Now if only peninsula leaders will follow suit.

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9. The Fight Against Corruption

sarawak-timber

Adenan has started a major crusade to save the remainder of Sarawak’s rainforests by putting a stop to illegal logging. In late 2014, Adenan gathered the tycoons of the state’s big six logging firms, KTS, Rimbunan Hijau, Samling, Shin Yang, Ta Ann and WTK for a meeting during which he publicly accused them of using “corrupt” practices.

Adenan described the state of corruption in Sarawak as “very bad, a reflection of what enforcement officers have not been doing.”

“Some, of course not all, pretend they don’t know. The reason is very simple; either they are stupid, cowards or corrupt,” he was quoted saying. He had earlier announced that Sarawak would arm 50 Forestry Department enforcers with guns to combat illegal logging and corruption.

10. Foreign Investments Flourished Under His Rule

kuching-city view

When Adenan Satem first took over as Chief Minister in 2014, he announced a surplus budget with a reserve of RM27 billion. In 2014, the state also announced a RM7.9 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) among all the states in Malaysia, surpassing even the state of Johor, who placed second at RM6.7 billion.

Opposition controlled states paled in comparison with Sarawak, having reported major budget deficit in 2015.

He Walks The Talk

We might not be big fans of the Barisan National coalition, but Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has managed to prove himself as a rare leader in Malaysia that walks the talk, and deliver his promises – promises that even the opposition leaders have yet to achieve.

Despite allegations that he is former CM Taib Mahmud’s crony/puppet or rumours of money politics in Sarawak, the fact that Adenan managed to impress even (some) opposition supporters is proof that he is doing the right thing, and should be an example to all politicians to learn from.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Anonymity

    January 11, 2017 at 14:53

    Can’t believe he is gone. Hmm

  2. Jaleel

    January 11, 2017 at 16:16

    I wonder if anyone knows is there’s a video when he says chines is not a pendatang

  3. Grieving Sarawakian

    January 11, 2017 at 18:14

    Sarawak is a country in the Federation of Malaysia. It is not “one of the 13 states”. Please correct this in your otherwise great tribute of an article.

    • Anonymous

      January 12, 2017 at 09:19

      which document says so? I’m not doubting you but I’m starting to doubt the school text books. but only hard evidence will convince people of your claims.

  4. tuah

    January 12, 2017 at 23:02

    please check your info on no.5. the meaning is incorrect.

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