Man of the hour: Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg greeting Taib (left) upon his arrival at the PBB headquarters for the party’s supreme council meeting.
KUCHING: Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Tan Sri Adenan Satem have been named as likely successors of Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Taib announced the names at the PBB Supreme Council meeting yesterday, according to party insiders.
Abang Johari is PBB deputy president, Tengah is senior vice-president while Adenan is the Information chief.
However, during a media conference chaired by PBB permanent chairman Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasar, reporters could not get a confirmation. Asfia only replied: “It’s possible”.
Outside the PBB’s meeting room, where the press conference was held, Tengah told reporters that he would “support whomever he (Taib) decides”.
Johari, who sent off the Chief Minister at the lobby, was tight-lipped. “It is better for you to ask Asfia to avoid conflicting statements,” he said.
Adenan left PBB headquarters before he could be asked for comments. Hundreds of media personnel descended upon PBB’s three-level headquarters from as early as 8am.
Taib arrived just after 10am, about half and hour before the start of the meeting.
Supreme council member Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah provided an insight into what he called a “sorrowful” meeting. “The Chief Minister started by saying he would resign soon,” Karim told The Star.
“He told us to respect his decision. He was composed and very cool. He probably spoke until 12.30, about two hours, before opening up the floor to questions.
“At the end, when he went around hugging everyone, some were shedding tears.
“It was sorrowful. I don’t know what word to use. We don’t feel happy. We feel we are going to miss him. Politicians step down when they feel support is diminishing. It’s the opposite for him. Everybody wants him to still lead.”
Karim, a Taib loyalist who is a former state Barisan Nasional Backbencher Club chairman, said Taib’s resignation was not likely to be due to external pressure.
“I would really doubt that. He has been toying with this for many years already. During the time when he was sick and had the operation, he really wanted to retire.”
PBB secretary-general Stephen Rundi Utom said the meeting was like a “family affair”.
“We had a father there to talk to us. Among us brothers and sisters, we talked on how to make sure this party remained one of the strongest in Malaysia.”
All clear for Taib to step down