KAPIT: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing was hopping from one function to another, looking spirited and spritely.

The Baleh assemblyman, who is also Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister, said he was attending official functions one after another in a single day and enjoying it.

James Masing

“This shows that I am still active, healthy and well despite having undergone a heart surgery recently,” he said when officiating at the closing of the LA 21 and Community Service Programme organised by Kapit District Council at Rumah Inguh Nanga Sepitoh, Sungai Paku, Mujong in Baleh recently.

Masing, who is 70, said he could well understand why Prime Minister Tun Mahathir at 95 loves his job.

“The prime minister has undergone heart surgery twice and he is still healthy and well. And I am 25 years younger, I want to prove to the people in Sungai Paku area here that I am as fit as a fiddle and capable of carrying out my responsibility as an elected representative and deputy chief minister,” Masing said.

The deputy chief minister was responding to comments in the social media questioning his health.

On the allocation of grants to people in Sungai Paku, Masing said from 2017 to 2019 grants were given to Rumah Jamba (RM144,000), Rumah Tujang (RM65,000), Rumah Jembu (RM35,000), Rumah Tang (RM48,000) and Rumah Inguh (RM80,500).

“Besides these, SK Sungai Paku is now connected by a 4.5-km tar-sealed road that cost RM4 million to build while its PIBG was given a grant of RM33,000,” he said.

On his political future, Masing said: “If the chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) chooses me, it means he trusts me. With that trust, I will stand for the Dayak Iban as I am still active and healthy.”

From left: Jabang, Ugak, Masing and Lating jointly plant a tree as a symbolic launch of the council’s LA 21 and Community Service Programme at Rumah Inguh.

On criticisms levelled at him on the social media by fellow Ibans, Masing said: “If you don’t respect me as a Dayak Iban leader than you do not respect the Dayak Iban community as a whole because I am representing the Dayak Iban community.

“If you don’t trust your own leader, why must the other races trust you?”

He said PRS will defend Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the coming state election “to champion the rights of Sarawakians”.

“Sarawakians must determine their destiny and not leave their fate to outsiders,” he added.

Later at the function Masing announced a grant of RM15,000 for JKKK Rumah Inguh and another RM5,000 for the its women bureau.

Among those present at the function were Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Kapit Resident Nyurak Keti and KDC walikota Lating Minggang.