LAST_UPDATESat, 26 May 2018 10am

Adenan Satem: From School Teacher To Journalist And Even Bus Driver, Truly The People's Chief Minister

The demise of the Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem came as a shock to many people, moreover he had just extended his role as Chief Minister after his triumphant victory in the Sarawak State Elections last May.

Famously called ‘Apai Besar’ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the election campaign last year, Adenan Satem who is also nicknamed 'Tok Nan' by his people successfully led Barisan Nasional (BN) to victory by winning 72 seats in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) out of the overall 82 seats.

Born on January 27, 1944, in Kuching, Sarawak during the Japanese occupation, he was educated at St Joseph Primary School, before continuing at St. Joseph High School.

Adenan’s young adolescent days was not short of competition, as believe it or not Adenan had led and was the lead singer of a band called the Vagabond. This explains his interest in music, as he revealed in an interview with NST adding that he was quite an accomplished guitar player.

His youthful years were equally productive as he served as a teacher in the same school he was studying – and this is also the reason why the education policy held a special significance, often leading him to be outspoken and critical of national education policies from the Peninsular throughout his years as Chief Minister.

Very popular amongst the Chinese community in Sarawak, Chief Minister Adenan was the first to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) that Sarawakians can now use to apply for a job in the public sector.

This monumental change is now opening more opportunities for the Chinese to join the government.

His deft handling of publicity and media coverage during his election campaign showed his savvy understanding of the medium learned during his stint as a journalist for Sarawak Tribune before leaving for Australia to continue his studies at University of Adelaide.

Aside from graduating with a law degree, he then proceeded to garner even more experience and exposure in the legal profession by working in the Office of Public Prosecutor of Adelaide Australia until he was appointed as the country’s Magistrate.

Upon his return to Malaysia, Adenan was offered the post of Attorney of the High Court of Borneo before starting his political career soon after.

Contesting under the banner of Parti Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) that’s parked under BN, Adenan successfully won the Batang Sadong Parliament post during the General Election (GE) 2004, and subsequently took up the position of Minister of Natural Resources and Environment at the federal level.

He later contested in Batu Sadong during the Sarawak state election in 2011 and successfully defended the seat to the very end.

Appointed as Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud's successor in February 2014, Adenan further cemented his legacy by becoming the first native Sarawakian to hold the number 1 seat in Sarawak.

During the Sarawak state election in 2016, Adenan also appeared in the ‘Mother Pertiwika’ video as a school bus driver – a symbolic agenda to bring Sarawakians on a journey to greater heights and achievements.

Following his demise, Adenan leaves behind his wife, Puan Sri Jamilah Anu and five children, Siti Rafidah Abdul Aziz, Hamidah Hayati, Aziza Jasmin and Azizul Anuar.

- Malaysian Digest