Adenan Satem

Adenan bin Satem (27 January 1944 – 11 January 2017) was the fifth Chief Minister of Sarawak, in office from 2014 to 2017. During his tenure as Chief Minister, Adenan held the position as the President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which is part of the Barisan Nasional coalition.[4] He was of Malay descent.[5][6] A popular figure known affectionately as "Tok Nan", he died in office on 11 January 2017.

Adenan Haji Satem
ادينن حاج ساتيم

Adenan Satem in 2016
5th Chief Minister of Sarawak
In office
1 March 2014  11 January 2017
GovernorAbdul Taib Mahmud
DeputyAlfred Jabu Numpang (1976–2016)[1]
Douglas Uggah Embas (2016–present)
Abang Johari Openg (2016–2017)
James Jemut Masing (2016–present)[2]
Preceded byAbdul Taib Mahmud
Succeeded byAbang Johari Openg[3]
President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu
In office
1 March 2014  11 January 2017
Preceded byAbdul Taib Mahmud
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Batang Sadong
In office
Preceded bySukinam Domo
Succeeded byNancy Shukri
Majority9,732 (2004)
Member of the Sarawak State Assembly
for Tanjung Datu
In office
20 May 2006  11 January 2017
Preceded byRanum Mina
Succeeded byJamilah Anu
Majority4,136 (2006)
3,216 (2011)
Member of the Sarawak State Assembly
for Muara Tuang
In office
Succeeded byMohamad Ali Mahmud
Majority8,272 (1991)
9,708 (2001)
Sarawak Minister with Special Functions
In office
6 June 2011  28 February 2014
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded byPost vacant
Personal details
Adenan bin Satem

(1944-01-27)27 January 1944
Kuching, Empire of Japan
Died11 January 2017(2017-01-11) (aged 72)
Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
Resting placeSamariang Muslim Cemetery, Kuching, Malaysia
Political partyParti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)
Other political
Barisan Nasional (BN)
Spouse(s)Jamilah Anu
ResidenceSantubong, Sarawak
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)

Early life

Adenan was born in Kuching, Sarawak during its occupation by Japan in World War II. He received his early education at St. Joseph's Primary School, and later at St. Joseph's Secondary School.[7] He once worked as a journalist and teacher before pursuing his studies in law at the University of Adelaide, Australia.[8][9] Upon graduating in 1970, he was appointed as Magistrate from 1971 to 1972. He was appointed assistant secretary for the Ministry of Primary Industries from 1972 to 1974.[10]

Political career

Adenan Satem's political career began in 1976 when he was appointed as the legal advisor and a committee member of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). Later in 1979, he contested in elections and won twice, the first in a by-election for the Muara Tuang Constituency in January, and the other in the State Election several months later in the same constituency. Adenan was the Member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly for Muara Tuang from 1979 onwards until he moved to Tanjung Datu in 2006 for the state election, where he won. Apart from that, he also became the Member of Parliament for Batang Sadong constituency after winning the 2004 election, appointing him the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. He, however, gave up the post in 2006 and returned to Sarawak. In 2010, he was appointed Special Advisor to the Chief Minister, and later in 2011 as Minister with Special Functions.[7]

Adenan played a role in the 1987 Ming Court Affair, a crisis that involved a power tussle between the then chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and the then governor Abdul Rahman Ya'kub. Abdul Rahman was the previous chief minister and Taib's uncle. The crisis helped trigger the 1987 state election after four ministers and three deputy ministers aligned to Abdul Rahman resigned from Taib's cabinet. Adenan sided with Taib Mahmud, who emerged as the victor in the crisis. Two years earlier, Adenan was appointed by Taib as PBB publicity chief as the former sought to purge Abdul Rahman's influence in the party. In 1987 soon after the seven resignations, Adenan was appointed as the state minister for land development in the Taib cabinet.

Chief Minister

In March 2014, Adenan Satem succeeded Abdul Taib Mahmud as Chief Minister or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak. He officially took the oath of office in a ceremony held at Astana on 28 February 2014,[11][12][13] Later that year, in conjunction with the Governor of Sarawak's 78th Birthday, he was awarded the "Datuk Patinggi" title.[14] Prior to the 2016 Sarawak state election, he was praised for inspiring support among Chinese voters. He won his seat of Tanjung Datu with 93.4% of the popular vote. His party won 72 of the 82 available seats.

As a chief minister, he clashed with federal government from time to time despite his party being part of the ruling federal coalition. He spoke openly about strengthening Sarawak's autonomy[15] and called for higher state's share of petroleum royalty, much to the consternation of Putrajaya and the national oil company Petronas.[16] Among other issues he disagreed with the federal government included official recognition for Chinese education certificate.[17]


On 11 January 2017, Adenan died of heart attack at the Sarawak Heart Centre, Kota Samarahan, aged 72 years old. [18] The untimely demise is the first occurrence to a serving Sarawak Chief Minister. He was laid to rest at Samariang Muslim Cemetery in Kuching.

His death was mourned by Sarawakians throughout the week, and many leaders attended his funeral in Kuching.


His other credentials were:

  • Chairman of Sarawak Foundation (1998-2017)
  • Chairman of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus Council (2004-2017)
  • Chairman of the Sarawak Malay Culture Foundation (Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak)
  • Board of directors for Sarawak Higher Education Foundation (SHEF)
  • Board member of the Curtin University of Technology Sarawak Campus Miri
  • Chairman, Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak (NREB)
  • Pro-Chancellor of the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus (2014-2017)


Honours of Malaysia


  1. Sulok Tawie (21 March 2016). "After 43 years, Sarawak deputy CM Alfred Jabu to quit politics". The Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  2. Adib Povera; Esther Landau (13 May 2016). "Sarawak unveils new cabinet lineup, featuring three deputy s". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  3. "Abang Johari Ketua Menteri Sarawak yang baharu" (in Malay). Sinar Harian. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  4. "Minos: Adenan will help SUPP and SPDP". The Borneo Post. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  5. "Adenan Ketua Menteri Sarawak Kelima" (in Malay). mStar. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  6. Zabidi Saidi (14 February 2014). "Adenan Satem: Pilihan Siapa?" (in Malay). Free Malaysia Today. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  7. Dorge Rajah; Margaret Apau (12 February 2014). "Adenan, the Chosen One". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  8. "Talking to Adenan Satem – Sarawak's next Chief Minister". Borneo Insider. 15 February 2014. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  9. "'Back in favour' Adenan Satem steps into Sarawak's hot seat". The Ant Daily. 14 February 2014. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  10. "Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Haji Adenan Bin Haji Satem". Official website of the Chief Minister of Sarawak. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  11. "Adenan sworn in as new Sarawak CM". Bernama. Malaysiakini. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  12. "Adenan Satem sworn in as Chief Minister of Sarawak". The Straits Times. 28 February 2014. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  13. Zora Chan (28 February 2014). "Adenan Satem sworn in as Sarawak Chief Minister". The Star. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  14. Peter Sibon; Lian Cheng (13 September 2014). "Adenan a Datuk Patinggi". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  15. "CM's call for more state autonomy reflects sentiments of Sarawakians, says political observer". The Borneo Post. 7 June 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  16. Richard T.W. (12 August 2016). "Adenan: We'll scrap permits if Petronas doesn't cooperate". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  17. Jonathan Chia (5 November 2015). "CM: Putrajaya's UEC stand 'stupid'". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  18. "Adenan passes away". The Borneo Post. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  19. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".
  20. "Late Adenan Satem and former Sarawak head of state lead state awards". Bernama. Malay Mail. 9 September 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2018.

Media related to Adenan Satem at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Abdul Taib Mahmud
Chief Minister of Sarawak
Succeeded by
Abang Johari Openg
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