About the Lecture:
Adenan Satem, Sarawak’s fifth chief minister rose to power amid the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) declining popularity. His ascension also marked the end of Abdul Taib’s era as Malaysia’s longest-serving chief minister. Adenan wasted no time in tackling his new job: he introduced a slew of populist policies such as abolishing tolls and quit rents, lowering electricity tariffs, recognising Chinese education, and fighting for Sarawak’s constitutional rights. In less than a year as chief minister, Adenan became one of Malaysia’s popular politicians. Even though many were skeptical of his ability to turn around the BN electorally, Adenan proved his critics wrong by winning more than two-thirds majority in the recent state elections. With his sudden passing, doubts are abound over the commitment of his successor in continuing Adenan’s agenda for governance reform and more autonomy for Sarawak. This paper discusses Adenan’s rise to power, the impacts of his policies on federal-state relations, and the future of Sarawak politics.
About the Speaker:
Dr Arnold Puyok is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Government Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Dr Puyok’s works on contemporary Malaysian politics especially Sabah and Sarawak have been published in Asian Journal of Political Science, Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia, Kajian Malaysia, and Asian Politics and Policy. He also regularly contributes to The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, The Malay Mail Online, Daily Express, The Borneo Post and East Asia Forum. Dr Puyok’s research interests are in the areas of politics of federal-state relations, ethnic and regional politics, electoral competition, politics and society, and contemporary Southeast Asian politics. Dr Puyok has recently published a book “Electoral Dynamics in Sarawak: Contesting Developmentalism and Rights (SIRD/ISEAS) which he co-edited with Meredith L. Weiss. Dr Puyok also blogs at http://arnoldpuyokpoliticalinsights.blogspot.com/.