A precious gem that can’t go unnoticed

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PRS Women chief deliver a fitting eulogy for Masing

KUCHING: Despite his humble roots from far deep in rural Baleh, the late Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing shone like a precious gem which cannot go unnoticed not only in Sarawak but throughout the nation.

Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie

This was Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice-president and Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie’s interpretation of a meaningful quote from Masing, which was: “I am just a small fish from the Baleh River, why would a big fisherman come and fish for me?”

“His positive aura, his positive charisma, and his humble leadership style had made him a true-blue statesman, especially the last 38 years of his life till his demise on Oct 31,” she said.

She said this when delivering a eulogy for the veteran politician at his state funeral service held at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre, Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) at Jalan Stampin here on Wednesday (Nov 3).

She said Masing loved reading and he had a vast collection of books.

“He also loved watching action movies, playing golf, going on hikes, and he enjoyed hunting and fishing too. He had interests in writing, taking walks, farming, and he loved animals.

“He took great interest in birds, and those who know him know that he often made escapades to Sunny Hill for his favourite ice cream,” recalled Doris, who is also a political secretary to the chief minister.

She said Masing had lived his life to the fullest – a journey that he had accomplished meaningfully.

“I take this moment to reflect on his beautiful journey in life. As we all know, Tan Sri had served as a Deputy Chief Minister and as Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development from May 2016 till Oct 31, 2021.

“He was first elected to the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly for Baleh in December 1983, where he served for eight consecutive terms to his demise in October this year,” she said.

She said he was among the pioneer members of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and later Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), a component party of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), whereby he was the founding president of PRS for 17 years since its formation on Oct 21, 2004.

“Tan Sri was born on March 5, 1949 in Ulu Baleh to Masing Lasah and Gansau Isah. Tan Sri had eight siblings and he was the second eldest in the family,” she said.

She said Masing had obtained his early education at SK Lubok Mawang (Methodist Primary School) in 1955 and subsequently moved to Methodist Primary School Ng Mujong from 1956 to 1959 and later to Methodist Primary School Kapit from 1960 to 1961.

Jamilah Anu (left) paying her last respects. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

“His secondary years were at Methodist School Sibu from 1962 to 1969. At school, Tan Sri was remembered as being very active in school plays, musicals, debate, and in the Methodist Youth Fellowship,” said Doris.

She said he then pursued his undergraduate studies at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand on a Methodist Mission Scholarship and completed his PhD at Australian National University, pointing out that he was the first Iban to receive a PhD. 

She said after he graduated, he was a temporary teacher at Methodist Secondary School Kapit from 1970 to 1972. She said later on in 1976, he became the headmaster of the same school.

“Tan Sri then pursued his career with Sesco (Syarikat Sesco Berhad) as their senior research officer from October 1981 to November 1983,” she said.

She said in 1982, Masing was the first young Malaysian to receive the Guinness Stout Effort Award.

“In September 1998, Tan Sri received the Panglima Negara Bintang Sarawak, and was conferred the title ‘Dato Sri’. In June 2011, he received the Panglima Setia Mahkota from the federal government of Malaysia and was conferred the title ‘Tan Sri’.

“In 2013, he was conferred the state award, the Datuk Amar Bintang Kenyalang,” she said.

Masing is survived by his wife Puan Sri Datin Amar Corrine Masing and five children – Anna Sulan Masing, Rachel Lian Masing, Karen Julan Masing, Ashley Layo Masing, and Emma Maria Masing.

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