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By Lian Cheng
SIBU, April 24: Former Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing is still dearly missed by the party as well as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Six months after Masing’s passing, Abang Johari who is the Premier of Sarawak said he still shared the sorrow with PRS but he believed that Masing’s spirit still lives on in PRS.
“I was given the opportunity to work with him in various political arenas so much so that I can be a witness of what he had fought for Sarawak, particularly the Dayak community.
“He has gone through a few challenges in this political life but he was always firm in the face of challenges because he loved Sarawak and the Dayak people.
“He used to tell me that it was not easy to be in the opposition. He was once before in the opposite camp. And even during those times, he maintained constant dialogue with us.
“He always came over to talk to us about Bumiputera unity and the role of Bumiputera among other communities and other races in Sarawak in view of developing Sarawak. That was Masing.
“That has been why we feel the loss after he breathed his last which was unexpected,” said Abang Johari during the opening ceremony for the PRS Fifth Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) at a hotel here today.
Abang Johari was not the only person feeling the loss. Yesterday, PRS deputy president Datuk Majang Renggi while opening the Women and Youth TDC said Oct 31, 2021 was a sad day for PRS because the party had lost a leader where he likened PRS to “a ship without a skipper”.
However, he believed that Masing’s fighting spirit, inspiration, advice and legacy would remain as a guide which would continue to strengthen the party.
“I am sure, his spirit will be joyful to see our determination and commitment to ensure that the Fifth PRS TDC can be held successfully,” said Majang.
Meanwhile, PRS Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan who also said he missed Masing, said the latter’s leadership and legacy had made the party stand tall, united and strong as well as stay relevant.
He opined the recent party tussle in the lead-up to the TDC had passed as “a storm in a teacup” due to Masing’s leadership which focussed on unity, and this had steered PRS to become one of the largest parties in Sarawak in the last two decades.
“Standing here among this crowd of PRS members who came from all corners of Sarawak, I can’t help but miss the charisma of our late President Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing,” said Snowdan.
Similarly, PRS Women chief Dato Sri Doris Brodie also spent quite some time reminiscing over Masing’s legacy yesterday.
She believed that many PRS leaders and members felt awkward in light of Masing’s absence at the TDC for the first time since the party was formed.
“He may be gone but will never be forgotten. His words and deeds will be remembered for a long time. His legacy will linger on.
“(Masing was) a very outspoken leader who had spoken for the Dayaks without fear or favour in his life time. May he rest in eternal peace,” said Doris.
Masing who was also the Deputy Chief Minister at the time, passed away on Oct 31, 2021. — DayakDaily