LONDON: One of the Sarawak government’s most prominent critics has hailed the late Adenan Satem as a leader who carried out reforms despite facing hurdles from Putrajaya, saying his replacement would have to emulate this in order to enjoy his popularity.
“Adenan’s successor will only achieve similar popularity if they take up the fight where he left off and show a similar dedication to the duties of public office,” whistleblower portal Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown told FMT today.
The London-based journalist, whose portal was blocked by Malaysian authorities for highlighting allegations of corruption, said Adenan showed that he was willing to address issues “that have troubled the state”.
“He acknowledged and spoke out against the problems of rampant deforestation caused by corruption. As a man he wanted to use his office to improve governance and not to illegaly enrich himself,” she said.
“It is perhaps a tragedy that Adenan did not assume that position until his health had largely left him, which limited his ability to carry out many of the reforms he spoke about.”
Adenan died from heart complications at the Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Samarahan. He was to have marked his 73rd birthday on Jan 27.
His popularity was widely credited for Barisan Nasional’s landslide victory at the state polls last year. Following that, he began pushing for Putrajaya to recognise the state’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement, an issue at the heart of Sarawak’s ties with the federal government. -FMT