Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, one of the two unpicked potential candidates to be Sarawak’s next Chief Minister, spoke at length during a press conference on Thursday but he revealed very little insight.
The typically wisecracking Johari began the press conference at 10.15am by reading out from a statement.
The long-serving politician pledged full support to the incoming Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
His statement ended with a Malay poem: “Struggle is about
sacrifice. Positions and ranks are not priority. The rakyat’s well being
is our dream”.
What followed was 20min of question time for reporters, in which Johari
spoke about why he respected Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s decision to
choose Adenan, and his own political beliefs.
But Johari, a PBB Deputy President, avoided commenting directly
to questions on the lead up to Taib’s announcement on Adenan that
came suddenly Wednesday.
“During the caucus (last Saturday), we requested Taib to choose (his
successor). We said: ‘You decide rather than the caucus. Caucus is
giving you full mandate.’ It was an idea between Adenan, (Datuk Amar)
Awang Tengah (Ali Hasan) and I.
“Actually, CM (Taib) was quite surprised. Taib told us: ‘The party
has to decide’. But we said no. It was Adenan who proposed the
resolution, and I seconded it. That is the team spirit we have in PBB.
“At the end of the day, what is the point to be CM if the party is
weak and you are poor of support. I subscribe to that belief. During my
whole political career, I saw the 1987 Ming Court crisis. That episode
really taught me something.”
The Ming Court crisis Johari referred to was when Tun Abdul Rahman
Ya’kub (who is also Taib’s uncle and predecessor) tried to topple Taib.
Johari said it was Ya’kub who ushered him into politics, “but when
the Ming Court crisis came, Adenan and I stuck by Taib’s side”.
“Back then, senior leaders went off to join Ya’kub. I saw this and
felt: ‘You want to go, you go lah.’ That is my track record. I stayed
with PBB. The situation has improved since then. Now, you and I are
witnessing a smooth transition.”
Johari then spoke about the transition of leaders in the People’s
Republic of China. Johari praised giant nation’s fixed leadership terms.
The PBB deputy president ended the press conference then, but added a
touch of humour that he is known for by telling reporters: “Eh, you try
to follow my statement. You ask so much my statement gets