KUCHING: Special Advisor to the Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem will be appointed a full minister in the coming Cabinet reshuffle, according to a reliable source.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the current cabinet “is temporary” and that he would disclose the reshuffle after the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting which will be from June 20-29.
The source said Adenan would be appointed Minister without Portfolio in the Chief Minister’s office.
Political observers said if the news was true, there could be a major change in the chief minister’s succession plan.
On Thursday a news portal reported a former Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) strongman Salleh Jafaruddin as saying Adenan would be the best candidate to take over from Taib as PBB president, and by extension be the next chief minister.
He said if tradition were to be followed, Adenan was the right candidate to replace Taib.
“The rest of the PBB leaders have no legal experience, and neither have they served in the federal cabinet,” Salleh said.
Adenan held several portfolios in the state administration including land development, social development and in the federal cabinet as natural resources and environment minister. He resigned from the federal cabinet in 2006.
He was appointed special advisor to the chief minister in a cabinet reshuffle in March 2010.
However, Unimas Social Science faculty Deputy Dean Dr Neilson Ilan Mersat disagreed with Salleh’s stand. Neilson told thesundaypost that Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang should succeed Taib when the chief minister retired.
He pointed out the ascension of Jabu as chief minister could help Barisan Nasional (BN) win back the support of the Dayaks.
“Jabu is a senior and seasoned politician. The Dayaks are looking forward to his appointment (as chief minister). He can win back the support of the Dayaks for BN in the coming election,” he said when contacted recently.
He said the appointment of Jabu would promote the 1Malaysia concept in the state, bringing different ethnic groups to work together.
Recently, the A-One Club, made up of former senior civil servants and professionals, had also named Jabu as the best person to take over as chief minister.
When asked by the press on his views on the succession debate recently, Jabu sidestepped the issue by saying that the group should respect the mandate given by the people in the recent state election to the chief minister to continue helming the state.
Other candidates speculated to be in line to take over as the next chief minister include Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.
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