By ROBERT KENNETH
KUCHING – The decision of the new Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg to retain the present cabinet line-up as well as the assistant ministers and their portfolios could be due to the fact that there is no pressing need for it.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) senior lecturer Dr Jeniri Amir said the move by Abang Johari was also seen as a sign of respect for the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem who died last week from heart complications.
“Abang Johari’s respect for Adenan is not only because the former chief minister was highly respected by Sarawakians but also due to the fact that both hailed from the same village and were partners in politics.
He said Abang Johari’s move was unexpected but it showed his sensitivity to the situation.
“The state cabinet was formed by Tan Sri Adenan just eight months ago after the state election last year and maybe Abang Johari also took into consideration a cabinet reshuffle was not pressing now,” Jeniri told Bernama here Friday.
Jeniri also felt Abang Johari probably found the state cabinet was functioning well as they had worked as a team to continue with Adenan’s agenda.
He believed Abang Johari would probably find his inspiration for a cabinet reshuffle in a few months’ time to further ensure the smooth administration of the state.
“Abang Johari is not required to depend on Adenan’s agenda and I believe when the time is right, Abang Johari will make the neccessary changes and set his own agenda so as to be seen as an effective chief minister, away from the shadows of Adenan,” Jeniri added.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and Parti Pesaka Bumputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Datuk Stephen Rundi Utom found the decision by Abang Johari as giving the focus to continue with the efforts left behind by Adenan.
“We (Sarawak) have not fully achieved the devolution of powers and autonomy from the federal government and have not fully implemented the programmes in all ministries especially those relating to transformation and economic development,” he said.
The Sarawak Public Utilities Minister said the move to retain the state cabinet was to give time to the new chief minister to get himself settled in his new position before deciding on a cabinet change.
In fact Abang Johari had previously said he would be reshuffling the cabinet when the time comes.
State Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah hoped the chief minister’s decision would be respected by all parties.
The Wanita PBB deputy chief said when the time comes and when there is a need, the chief minister will reshuffle the cabinet, but the immediate task ahead is preparing for the by-election next month for the Tanjung Datu seat which fell vacant following the death of Adenan last week.
On Friday Abang Johari visited the graves of his parents at the Muslim Cemetery of the Kuching Division Mosque here.
His father Tun Abang Openg Abang Sapiee, the first Governor of Sarawak, died in 1969 while his mother Toh Puan Dayang Masniah Abang Abdul Rahman passed away in 1998.