“It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Sarawakians from all walks of life and from both sides of the political divide are grieving the passing on of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem. It is rare to see such an outpouring of sorrow over the passing on of a politician in Malaysia but Adenan is no ordinary politician.
Adenan is a rare leader in Malaysia who walks the talk and delivers his promises. He managed to impress even many opposition politicians and is like a shining beacon for all politicians to learn from.
Despite his short stint as Sarawak Chief Minister, he had accomplished quite a lot. He was outspoken about restoring Sarawak’s autonomous rights. Sarawakians applauded his decision to make English as the official language of the state administration, apart from Bahasa Malaysia. Despite criticisms from many Semenanjung politicians over that decision, Adenan retorted that he did not care whether his Semananjung critics agreed with him or not as he wasn’t being unpatriotic, just being practical and logical. He made the decision to recognise the United Examination Certificate (UEC) that won the hearts of a lot of Sarawakian Chinese. He allowed the use of “Allah” by Christians in Sarawak in direct opposition to the ban of its usage by Christians in Semananjung. He told the Sarawak Chinese that they are not pendatang and chided those who use the term pendatang to refer to the Chinese. He abolished all tolls in Sarawak. He was vocal in his fight against illegal logging.
Adenan gave his best every single day even though he had been suffering from poor health. He remained relentless in the face of opposition and criticisms as he believed he was doing the right things for Sarawak. He tried to leave Sarawak better than when he first took over as Chief Minister in 2014. He did things HIS WAY!
He did not have enough time to do more for Sarawak. His heart was all for Sarawak but ultimately his heart failed him. But he exemplified what Martin Luther King Jr had said. It did not matter how long Adenan was the Chief Minister of Sarawak but how well he carried out his role. He had left behind a legacy that will forever be recorded in Sarawak’s history.
You will be greatly missed, Tok Nan!