KOTA SAMARAHAN: He was not just another chief minister of a state. He was no ordinary administrator. He was of a special breed, a special pedigree.
Tan Sri Adenan Satem, in his less than three years as Chief Minister, won the admiration and respect of all politicians, including those in the peninsula, as a beacon of moderation known for his steadfast stand on many issues.
He was adamant about making English an official language and recognising Chinese independent schools and UEC certificates, saying that these would raise the standard of education in the country.
He was against the Syariah Bill that will soon be debated in Parliament and asked all Sarawak MPs to vote against it.
He was also modest, not wanting to be known as “beloved CM” or with other honorifics. “Just call me CM.” – that was what he told his people.
Adenan has been described as visionary, committed, bold and a great leader.
When news of his death at the Sarawak Heart Centre here broke, hundreds turned up at the centre as well as at his home in Santubong in a state of disbelief.
Some came to provide support, others to provide comfort to mourning friends and relatives. It was a sombre atmosphere, with teary-eyed people.
State dignitaries led by Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud also rushed over. Those present included Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin and former deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang.
Masing said Adenan had done much to benefit the people during his short tenure as chief minister.
Wong said he had met the late chief minister just last Friday.
“This is one of the saddest moments for the people of Sarawak. He was a great leader. Although the chief minister was a man of few words, he had a great vision and commitment to bring the state to new heights,” he said.
“He was a man who got things done.”
Lee described Adenan as a great mentor and a very good leader who only thought about the people.
Jabu was sobbing when he said: “He has left a legacy, he was a good leader, a good friend.”
With his sharp wit and deadpan delivery, Adenan could disarm anyone very quickly with his speeches.
He also loved to sing, and would rarely refuse invitations to belt out a few tunes, especially those by Elvis Presley, to warm people up to him.
His frank and blunt manner of speaking could also send chills down the spines of those at the receiving end of his tongue-lashings.
Adenan was fearless when it came to defending what he believed was right. And he never shied away from defending the tolerance, harmony and moderation that Sarawak is renowned for.
In standing up for these values, Adenan became the voice of not only of Sarawak but of all Malaysians.
He passed away at 1.24pm due to heart complications after being admitted on Sunday.
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