PETALING JAYA: Shock and grief greeted the death of Adenan Satem in the opposition camp, with top leaders from DAP, PKR and PAS describing his sudden demise today as a great loss to Sarawak.
Minutes after news of Adenan’s death following heart complications, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chien Jen rushed a message to the media, urging them not to carry his earlier statements as a mark of respect for the popular chief minister.
“To all media, to show respect to our late chief minister Adenan, please do not publish all my statements made during (a) press conference this afternoon,” said Chong in his message.
As a mark of respect, the DAP headquarters in Kuching lowered the Jalur Gemilang as well as the state and party flags to half mast.
In his message, Chong said Adenan had tried his best to bring “change for the better for Sarawak”.
“It is sad that time is not with him. As the chief minister, with such a short tenure, he has contributed greatly to Sarawak and shown us that Sarawak can stand up against the might of the federal government,” he added.
Adenan died at the Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Samarahan. He was to have marked his 73rd birthday on Jan 27.
He had been at the forefront of demands for Putrajaya to recognise the state’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.
State PKR chief Baru Bian said Adenan transcended race and religion in serving Sarawakians.
“He did his best for Sarawak and I had the greatest respect for him.
“Rest in Peace, Tan Sri Adenan. My party members and I offer our deepest sympathy to Puan Sri Jamilah and family on their great loss.”
PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was among the first to send a message of condolence, while DAP’s Lim Kit Siang described Adenan as a visionary, and his death a loss to both Sarawak and Malaysia.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said Adenan was committed to the people of Sarawak.
“There have been many positive changes from him in developing the state of Sarawak,” said Hadi.
State PAS commissioner Jofri Jaraeei remembers Adenan as a leader who fought for native rights.
“During his short tenure as the chief minister, Adenan had shown that he was a leader who really wanted to help the people of Sarawak.
“Adenan stopped the customary lands from being robbed by developers, a practice prevalent during the previous chief minister’s administration,” he said.
Other opposition leaders also sent messages of condolence.
“Sarawak is mourning,” said a Twitter message from Abdul Aziz Isa, who is also special assistant to Chong.
DAP’s Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong and Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei also sent similar messages, paying tribute to Adenan’s legacy.- FMT