KUCHING, Jan 5: The late Temenggong Dato Sri Nyipa Bato will be remembered as an open-minded leader who dared to accept changes and challenge the existing system for the benefit of the community as a whole.
As a leader from the Orang Ulu community which has a stringent caste system, he was praised as a progressive leader who had contributed towards liberalising the community.
“Dato Sri Nyipa understood the need for social changes in a very stratified Orang Ulu society.
“He guided and nursed the changes of a very rigid stratified society into a liberal community where a person is accepted to be their leader based on merit and not based on the social standing he belongs to,” Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing told DayakDaily today.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, is Nyipa’s son-in-law.
Masing said Nyipa came from the Orang Ulu elite or the ‘Maren’ class of the Orang Ulu community. Yet the latter had set a good example by accepting political leadership from a social class below him.
“He was a progressive liberal Maren in a highly stratified Kayan society!” said Masing.
Nyipa passed away at his residence in Kuching on Jan 2 at the age of 82 due to organ failure.
The Orang Ulu leader had served Sarawak as state assemblyman for four terms, from two consecutive terms spanning 1970 to 1979 and another two consecutive terms spanning 1987 to 1996.
He also served as Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) president for two terms, from 1975 to 1976, and 1978 to 1979.
“I have lost a father-in-law, my wife has lost a father and the people of Belaga have lost a very caring leader,” said Masing who is also the Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister. — DayakDaily