List of Chief Ministers of Sarawak

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Chief Minister of Sarawak
Ketua Menteri Sarawak
Coat of arms of Sarawak.svg
Adenan Satem during the Sejiwa Sanada programme at Kota Samarahan.jpg
Adenan Satem

since 1 March 2014
Government of Sarawak
Style Yang Amat Berhormat (The Most Honourable)
Member of Sarawak State Executive Council
Reports to Sarawak State Legislative Assembly
Residence Demak Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak
Seat Tingkat 22, Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Petra Jaya, 93502 Kuching, Sarawak
Appointer Abdul Taib Mahmud
as Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak
Term length While commanding the confidence of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly
With State Elections held no more than five years apart
Constituting instrument Constitution of the State of Sarawak
Inaugural holder Stephen Kalong Ningkan
Formation 22 July 1963; 53 years ago (1963-07-22)
Deputy Alfred Jabu Numpang

The Chief Minister of Sarawak is the head of government in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. According to convention, the Chief Minister is the leader of the majority party or largest coalition party of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.

The 5th and current Chief Minister of Sarawak is Adenan Satem, who took office on 1 March 2014.


Source: Constitution of the State of Sarawak
According to the state constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak shall first appoint the Chief Minister to preside over the Cabinet and requires such Chief Minister to be a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly and must not a Malaysian citizen by naturalisation or by registration. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the Chief Minister's advice shall appoint not more than ten nor less than four Ministers from among the members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers must take and subscribe in the presence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri the oath of office and allegiance as well as the oath of secrecy before they can exercise the functions of office. The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly. The members of the Cabinet shall not hold any office of profit and engage in any trade, business or profession that will cause conflict of interest.

If a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly, or the Legislative Assembly passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the Chief Minister is bound by convention to resign immediately. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri's choice of replacement chief minister will be dictated by the circumstances. Ministers other than the Chief Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, unless the appointment of any Minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the advice of the Chief Minister but may at any time resign his office.

Following a resignation in other circumstances, defeated in an election or the death of a chief minister, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri will generally appoint as Chief Minister the person voted by the governing party as their new leader.


The power of the chief minister is subject to a number of limitations. Chief ministers removed as leader of his or her party, or whose government loses a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly, must advise a state election or resign the office or be dismissed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. The defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) or unable to pass important policy-related legislation is seen to require the resignation of the government or dissolution of Legislative Assembly, much like a non-confidence vote, since a government that cannot spend money is hamstrung, also called loss of supply.

The chief minister's party will normally have a majority in the Legislative Assembly and party discipline is exceptionally strong in Sarawakian politics, so passage of the government's legislation through the Legislative Assembly is mostly a formality.

Caretaker Chief Minister[edit]

The legislative assembly unless sooner dissolved by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri with His Excellency's own discretion on the advice of the chief minister shall continue for five years from the date of its first meeting. The state constitution permits a delay of 90 days of general election to be held from the date of dissolution and the legislative assembly shall be summoned to meet on a date not later than 120 days from the date of dissolution. Conventionally, between the dissolution of one legislative assembly and the convening of the next, the chief minister and the cabinet remain in office in a caretaker capacity.

List of Chief Ministers of Sarawak[edit]

The following is the list of Chief Ministers of Sarawak since 1963:[1][2]

Colour key (for political parties):
  Barisan Nasional

Portrait Name
Political party[a] Term of office Electoral
Stephen Kalong Ningkan.jpg Stephen Kalong Ningkan
Sarawak Alliance
22 July 1963 16 June 1966
Tawi Sli.JPG Tawi Sli
Sarawak Alliance
16 June 1966 7 September 1966
Stephen Kalong Ningkan.jpg Stephen Kalong Ningkan
Sarawak Alliance
7 September 1966 23 September 1966
Tawi Sli.JPG Tawi Sli
Sarawak Alliance
23 September 1966 7 July 1970
Abdul Rahman Ya'kub
MLA for Kuala Rajang, 1969–1981
Sarawak Alliance
7 July 1970 26 March 1981

1969 (8th)
1974 (9th)
1979 (10th)

Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud.jpg Abdul Taib Mahmud
(b. 1936)
MLA for Sebandi, 1981–1991
MLA for Asajaya, 1991–2001
MLA for Balingian, 2001–2014
BN (PBB) 26 March 1981 28 February 2014

– (10th)
1983 (11th)
1987 (12th)
1991 (13th)
1996 (14th)
2001 (15th)
2006 (16th)
2011 (17th)

Adenan Satem during the Sejiwa Sanada programme at Kota Samarahan.jpg Adenan Satem[3]
(b. 1944)
MLA for Muara Tuang, 1979–2006
MLA for Tanjong Datu, since 2006
BN (PBB) 28 February 2014 Incumbent

– (17th)
2016 (18th)

  1. ^ This column names only the Chief Minister's party. The state government he heads may be a complex coalition of several parties and independents; those are not listed here.

Living former Chief Ministers[edit]

Name Term of office Date of birth
Abdul Taib Mahmud 1981–2014 21 May 1936 (age 80)


  1. ^ "Chief Minister Sarawak". Sarawak State Government. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sarawak". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Zora Chan (28 February 2014). "Adenan Satem sworn in as Sarawak Chief Minister". The Star Online. Retrieved 1 March 2014.