KUCHING: The passing of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing has, undoubtedly, saddened all parties, regardless of their political stance.
Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president and Masing’s former colleague Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said Masing’s untimely departure was definitely a great loss to Sarawak.
“Both my wife and I knew Tan Sri James from his student days in Form Six at Sibu Methodist Secondary School as a bright student, who excelled in his academic pursuits, and had outstanding leadership skills
“Indeed, deservingly he went on to become a successful politician, culminating in his position as Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak.
“We will miss him and our heartfelt condolence goes to Puan Sri (Corinne Masing) and her family. May his soul rest in eternal heavenly peace,” he said.
Ba’kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian also expressed his sadness over Masing’s passing, stating that they both had gone through many challenges together.
“I have known Masing since we were members of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) in the 80s. We went through many challenges together when PBDS was in the opposition.
“Although our political paths diverged after that, we remained friends and enjoyed cordial chats whenever we met at the DUN.”
Baru said that Masing always had a soft spot for Sarawak and Sarawakians, as shown during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, where he was extremely vocal about the importance of completing the vaccination programme as soon as possible.
“I also recalled that in 2016, he moved a ministerial motion in DUN that incorporated See Chee How’s motion to reject the Territorial Sea Act 2012 in order to preserve and uphold Sarawak’s territorial integrity, which was passed unanimously.
“I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to Puan Sri Corrine and their children on their loss. May their beloved husband and father rest in peace,” he said.
President of Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) Voon Lee Shan, meanwhile, described the late deputy chief minister as one who was always polite and soft-spoken when dealing with opposition members during debates.
“Despite he was a senior politician, he never lost his cool in debate. When I was a member of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly, he always guided and advised us on how the opposition should see issues and debate them for the good of Sarawak.
“The Dayak people relied on him as their paramount chief to protect their rights and well-being and it is definitely a sad day for all Dayaks as they had lost a leader of such calibre. The people of Baleh and Rajang Basin will undoubtedly miss him and I, have sadly lost a friend.”
Voon said PBK was with the late’s family in their grief, adding: “We are also with the Dayaks who have lost their paramount chief.
He expressed hope that a new Dayak leader would be found soon to fill the void left by Masing.