KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 – Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is the sounding board for Sarawakians and has successfully brought significant reforms to the state despite being just two years in office. Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said since taking over as chief minister on Feb 28, 2014, even the opposition had grudgingly admitted that Adenan had done a good job.
He said people can see from the Sarawak election campaign that the opposition has nothing much to criticise Adenan about. He said this in his latest posting in sskeruak.blogspot.my on Wednesday. Salleh said it was apparent that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was giving Adenan full backing and supporting the chief minister in all his endeavours.
“Adenan is the sounding board for Sarawakians and the most important thing is that the prime minister is listening. That is giving the Sarawak voters the confidence that Najib and Adenan make a good team, one in federal and the other in the state, and that Barisan Nasional will be able to deliver what Sarawakians want,” he said.
Pointing out on Adenan’s merit, Salleh said the chief minister had introduced many new policies which were considered very important to Sarawak or Sarawakians, with most notably the Anak Sarawak policy. He said that the policy declares equality for all Sarawakians, irrespective of ethnicity and religion. He also said there is no longer any lain-lain while Chinese born in Sarawak are not classified as pendatang .
He also added that this one issue alone has been a bone of contention for many Malaysians for a long time and Adenan, in one swoop, cleared up the matter. Another bone of contention that Adenan wanted settled was the recognition of Chinese schools and its United Examination Certificate for Sarawak Foundation education loans and entry to the civil service.
Further to that, Salleh said independent Chinese schools received RM3 million in government aid in 2014, RM4 million last year and this was increased to RM5 million this year. According to him, Sarawak reduced electricity tariff and ferry service rates and the Lanang and Baram bridge tolls have also been abolished while there is no Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Municipal Council Services.
“Sarawak no longer issues any timber and plantation licences while Half Occupation Ticket licences have been cancelled or are not being renewed. Over 30 sawmills handling illegal logs have been closed down and 10 per cent of forest land will be turned into national parks,” he said, pointing out how serious Adenan was about forest conservation.
On native land rights which he deemed as “one very thorny issue”, Salleh pointed that Sarawak was increasing communal land while at the same time, recognised Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. He said to achieve this, Sarawak was conducting perimeter and individual surveys to bring the land onto the register.
The state is also opening up opportunities for the natives to develop their land on a commercial basis while the amendment to the Sarawak Land Code enables Sarawak Bumiputeras to acquire NCR land outside of their own community.
Salleh said these are just some of the many changes in Sarawak over the last two years since Adenan took over as chief minister. He said Sarawakians are, by and large, very happy with these reforms and most are of the opinion that Barisan Nasional should be given another five years to see what more Adenan can do for Sarawak and for Sarawakians.
“Most West Malaysians did not really know who Adenan was, because he had always maintained a very simple life and low-profile image in his entire political career. Just two years in office and many, even from West Malaysia, now understand why the prime minister appointed him the Sarawak chief minister. Today, many say Najib could not have made a better choice than that,” he said.