FOR Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, he remembers Pehin Sri Adenan Satem as a leader who had always been courteous and open to the state elected representatives (ADUNs) from the opposition, even before he became chief minister.
“Shortly after he took office, the opposition ADUNs were welcomed by him when we made a courtesy call on him at his office — something that was unheard of during his predecessor’s time. I remember that Adenan was very receptive to our suggestions and ideas when we discussed issues of concern that were affecting the lives of Sarawakians.
“It was also a point of gratification for us that he was ready to recognise and acknowledge the sentiments of Sarawakians — the unhappiness we felt about lagging behind Peninsular Malaysia in terms of development and the failure of the Federal Government to honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), resulting in his initiation of the movement to pressure the federal government to devolve powers to the state in certain areas of concern,” Baru, who is Parti Keadilan Sarawak (PKR) chairman, said when asked to share his memories of Adenan.
Baru acknowledged that Adenan dared to ride on the opposition’s issues and to take them on as the state government’s issues, such as the call for an increase of the state’s petroleum royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent, and the affirmation of English as a second official language of Sarawak.
“He was not afraid to give his frank opinions and in many instances, he voiced out what we all thought about statements and proposals from the federal leaders. His liberal use of the word ‘stupid’ was groundbreaking — legendary in this respect.”
In the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), Baru said Adenan allowed the Barisan Nasional (BN) Backbenchers to speak their minds and as a result, many started to speak openly about the lack of development in their constituencies — indeed, they continue to do so.
“It’s a positive and progressive step towards a more mature and meaningful form of government, and the ‘liberation’ of the BN Backbenchers was further enhanced by Adenan’s frowning upon the attempted continuation of the fawning and obsequious tendencies carried over from the past administration.”
Baru said the passing of Adenan was a huge blow to Sarawakians because he had such high hopes for Sarawak, and he had many ideas which he was unable to see to fruition.
“For me, the biggest disappointment and regret was he did not manage to settle the NCR (native customary rights) land issue while he was in office.
“What a legacy he would have left for us had he done so. Our native communities are now facing even more difficulties and challenges in their struggle to defend their NCR land, and I am sure he would not have been happy about that.
“However, it is a comfort to note that in his final days, he showed his concern for the people by instructing and entrusting (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi) Abang Johari (Tun Openg) to settle the matter. We hope that Abang Johari and his ministers would grant his (Adenan’s) last wish sooner rather than later.”
~ Borneo Post Online