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Wan Junaidi Resigns As Dewan Negara President To Assume Role As New Sarawak Governor

Wan Junaidi Resigns As Dewan Negara President To Assume Role As New Sarawak Governor

Wan Junaidi is said to receive his appointment letter soon and be sworn in, replacing the current governor, Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

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Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has reportedly resigned as president of the Dewan Negara.

The Malaysian Insight news site stated it had seen Junaidi’s resignation letter.

Junaidi, a senior politician with the ruling Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party, is widely expected to be appointed the new Governor of Sarawak – a position currently held by fellow PBB member Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib has held the governor post since 2014, but his five-year term is set to expire by the end of next month.

If Junaidi succeeds him, he will become Sarawak’s eighth governor since Malaysia’s independence.

Netizens have already started congratulating him on social media, with some saying that it’s because Taib has also been unwell.

The Constitutional Powers and Responsibilities of Sarawak’s Governor

As governor, Junaidi will hold ceremonial duties and constitutional responsibility for appointing the Chief Minister.

The Sarawak governor also has authority over the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of Sarawak’s state government.

These constitutional powers aim to provide checks and balances.

Among the key constitutional powers and responsibilities:

  • Appointing the Chief Minister: As mentioned, the governor appoints the Chief Minister of Sarawak. This gives the governor significant influence in choosing the head of the state government.
  • Consenting to dissolve the state assembly: The Sarawak state assembly must be dissolved for state elections. The governor must give consent before the assembly can be dissolved. This provides control over timing elections.
  • Appointing the State Secretary: The State Secretary is the most senior civil servant in the Sarawak state government. The governor appoints the State Secretary on the advice of the Chief Minister and state cabinet.
  • Assenting bills into law: For any bill passed by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly to become law requires the governor’s assent. This provides the governor veto power over proposed new state laws.
  • Chairing the State Financial Authority: The governor chairs the State Financial Authority, which oversees the state’s budgets and accounts. This grants oversight on fiscal policy and spending.
  • Pardoning convicts: The Sarawak governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment to convicted criminals. This includes death sentences.

Junaidi’s Rise to Prominence Signals PBB’s Firm Grip on Power in Sarawak

Junaidi’s political career includes serving as a federal Minister and Member of Parliament for Santubong from 2004 to 2022.

His ministerial career includes appointments as Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Minister of Home Affairs, and most recently as Minister in Charge of Law and Parliament.

He has long been an ally of Taib within PBB – the party that dominates the Sarawak government as part of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Meanwhile, Taib is one of Malaysia’s longest-serving state leaders – having been Sarawak Chief Minister from 1981 to 2014.

The smooth transition between the senior PBB figures indicates Junaidi’s increasing prominence.

It also shows the party’s firm grip on power in Sarawak amid federal efforts to strengthen ties with the resource-rich eastern state.

Rising Influence: Sarawak’s Leadership Change and the Quest for Autonomy

Analysts believe the leadership change shows Sarawak leveraging its rising influence during a volatile time when neither federal coalition has outright control.

Appointing Junaidi signifies GPS’s determination to see greater autonomy and self-governance for the Borneo state.

Sarawak’s dominant coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), and its leader, Abang Johari Openg, are recently rumoured to be courted by the Opposition to replace the current unity government.

Abang Johari, said to be offered the Prime Minister’s post, has since quashed the buzzes.

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