UPDATED! ‘Voice of Borneo’ Adenan Satem Dies Of Heart Attack

Adenan Satem
Adenan Satem passed away at 1.20pm at the Sarawak General Hospital on Wednesday.

KOTA KINABALU – The late Tan Sri Adenan Saten will always be remembered that with him at the helm of the Sarawak State government, Putrajaya did not always get its way.

The Chief Minister who passed away at the age of 72 at the Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan at 1.20pm Wednesday spoke openly about autonomy for Sarawak and the rights of Sarawakians.

He had pushed for the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) to be given a relook in Parliament later last year, until he backed down at the last minute.

Adenan also blocked Petronas from sending over personnel from peninsula Malaysia to man its operations in Sarawak, advocating an employ-locals first policy.

His constant ‘disagreements’ with Putrajaya earned him the nickname ‘Voice of Borneo’ as he led Sarawak and Sabah towards a better deal with the federal government.

Puan Sri Jamilah Anu, wife of the late Chief Minister, has a word with Abang Johari, a deputy chief minister at the Sarawak General Hospital.
Puan Sri Jamilah Anu, wife of the late Chief Minister, has a word with Abang Johari, a deputy chief minister at the Sarawak General Hospital.

Adenan, who took over the post as the fifth Sarawak chief minister from his predecessor, Abdul Taib Mahmud in Feb 2014 had previously spoken of his close shave with death due to a heart ailment four years ago.

A popular leader, Adenan led Barisan Nasional to a sweeping victory in the last Sarawak state election, winning 72 state seats.

Leading BN for the first time in a state election, Adenan had asked voters to give him five more years to realise his vision for the state.

The president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) began his political career in 1976 when he was appointed a committee member and the party’s legal advisor.

Tun Taib Mahmud, the man who was replaced by Adenan, arrives at the hospital to pay his last respects. Taib is now Sarawak Head of State.
Tun Taib Mahmud, the man who was replaced by Adenan, arrives at the hospital to pay his last respects. Taib is now Sarawak Head of State.

Later in the same year, he contested in elections and won twice — the first in a by-election for the Muara Tuang parliamentary constituency, and in the state election later in the same constituency.

Adenan was an assemblyman for Muara Tuang from 1976 until he moved to Tanjung Datu in 2006 for the state election where he won.

He became the Member of Parliament for the Batang Sadong constituency after the 2004 general election and later was appointed as the Natural Resources and Environment Minister.

He, however, relinquished his ministerial post two years after being in office and returned to Sarawak.

In 2010, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the Chief Minister and later in 2011 as Minister with Special Functions.

The father of five had an illustrious career which included being a journalist, a teacher, a magistrate and a legal adviser prior to his win in Muara Tuang.

He received his legal education at theUniversity of Adelaide in Australia and was once appointed as a public prosecutor in 1969 in Adelaide. He served as magistrate from 1971 to 1972 in Sarawak.

Sarawak BN leaders rushed to the General Hospital Wednesday afternoon upon hearing the sad news of the demise of their beloved leader.
Sarawak BN leaders rushed to the General Hospital Wednesday afternoon upon hearing the sad news of the demise of their beloved leader.

Adenan was appointed as chairman of Sarawak Foundation on Feb 1, 1999 after Taib gave up the post.

His appointment as the Sarawak Chief Minister was also historic, as he was the first leader of Malay descent to hold the post.

Previous chief ministers, Tan Sri Stephen Kalong and Datuk Tawi Sli were of Iban descent while Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub was of Melanau descent. Taib is also of Melanau descent.

Adenan would have celebrated his 73rd birthday on January 27.