‘Reluctant’ Abang Johari admits never dreamt to be Sarawak CM

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg crooning a Malay number at the special session with the media, April 22,2017. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, April 22 — Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said today it was never his dream to one day be Sarawak’s chief minister, explaining he just wanted to serve the public regardless of any government position.

Abang Johari, 66, said he was even reluctant to join politics in the first place, claiming there was no future in it.

“I am not obsessed to be the chief minister and it so happened that Tok Nan passed away and that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera leadership wanted me to take over from him,” he said.

He was referring to the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who passed away on January 11 this year due to heart complications.

Abang Johari, who was then PBB deputy president, was sworn in as Sarawak’s sixth chief minister two days later.

Speaking at the chief minister’s special session with the media in conjunction with his 100 days in office, he said he was not the type of person who would go all out to fight for position in the government.

“If the time comes, and if God wants me, then I become the chief minister,” he said.

“If you are obsessed to be the chief minister, you would be frustrated if you don’t get it, but not me.”

He also recalled that he was only 20 years old when former chief minister Tun Abdul Rahman Yaakub approached him to contest in Satok by-election in 1981, replacing Datuk Abang Abu Bakar Mustapha.

“When Tun Rahman approached me, I asked him why he chose me and not someone else?” he related, and had suggested for his elder brother Datuk Abang Abdul Karim to be the candidate in the by-election instead.

He said Rahman did not want Karim to be the candidate because he was “too quiet” to be in politics.

Abang Johari said he finally agreed to contest in Satok only after listening to his mother’s advice.

He said in all his political life and as a minister, he has always lived moderately and within his means.

“There is no use having so much money because when you die, you are not going to bring it along with you,” he said.