KUCHING: Abang Johari Abang Openg was proposed as Adenan Satem’s successor during a meeting attended by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) leaders last night.
PBB senior vice-president Awang Tengah Ali Hassan told reporters today he had put forward Abang Johari’s name for chief minister and this was unanimously accepted by the 43 state leaders attending the meeting.
The proposal was approved by Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud this morning.
There were no discussions on who would be the candidate for the Tanjung Datu state seat held by the late Adenan Satem.
Awang Tengah was speaking to reporters after Abang Johari was sworn in as the chief minister at the governor’s residence, the Astana, at 4pm today.
Deputy Chief Minister James Jemut Masing expressed confidence that the 53 initiatives promised by Adenan would be “carried through” by the new chief minister.
“Those that have yet to be completed, Abang Johari will make sure they are carried through,” said Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak president.
“Abang Johari, I’m sure, will have a long time – years – to do that, and we will be behind him. It is the least we can do for Adenan,” he said, adding issues such as Sarawak’s oil royalties would not be abandoned.
Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas agreed: “I have known him (Abang Johari) since 1981. We both joined the party (at the same time).
“He is a very patient man. Very hardworking and committed.
“I believe he will steer Sarawak to new heights and development. And I am very confident he will carry through the unfinished tasks of the late CM.”
Douglas denied there was a split within the party.
“Since when has there been a split in PBB? We in PBB have a culture, and you witnessed it when Tun (Abdul Taib) stepped down and there was a smooth transition.
“And now we have another smooth transition. This is PBB, a mature party, whose objective is to develop Sarawak.”
Abang Johari declined to comment after being sworn in, out of respect for the late Adenan.
“Thank you very much for covering this, but since we are still mourning the loss of our late CM, I will only issue any statement after the mourning period,” he told reporters.
When asked how he felt about being appointed as the new chief minister, Abang Johari said: “No, I just (want to) thank the TYT (Abdul Taib) and my colleagues for their confidence in my ability to lead the state government.”
On new appointments or a reshuffling of the state Cabinet, he said: “No, we are still in mourning. Those in their positions will remain (for the time being).”
On Wednesday, Sarawak declared seven days’ of mourning upon the death of Adenan.
Sarawak has since been without a state Cabinet and is technically under a caretaker government. -FMT