Masing pays tribute to Tajem

Tan Sri James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, May 27: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing says Dato Sri Daniel Tajem’s passing is a sad loss for Sarawak, especially the Dayak community.

Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president said he and Tajem were comrades in arms for seven years between 1987 to 1994 in fighting for Dayak rights.

“We were together for seven years in trying to correct, what we perceived then as administrative injustice to the Dayak communities in Sarawak.

“We fought the Barisan Nasional government in two general elections (1987 and 1991) based on this assumption (injustice to the Dayaks), but we were beaten by the majority of voters in Sarawak.

“It was not an easy battle to correct what we thought was wrongly done to the Dayaks in Sarawak by the Barisan Nasional government then,” said Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister in a statement today.

Between 1987 to 1994, Masing and Tajem fought BN through Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PDBS) which was founded by Tan Sri Leo Moggie and Tajem after they exited from Sarawak National Party (SNAP) which was then headed by Datuk Amar James Wong.

From left: Tajem, Moggie, Masing, PRS secretary-general Datuk Joseph Salang and PRS publicity chief Datuk Wilfred Nissom, were among the leaders who set up Teras Education Foundation.

“Tan Sri Moggie, President of PBDS then, and the late Dato Seri Tajem as his Deputy, after being beaten twice by BN, decided that PBDS should apply to come back (rejoin BN) since the majority of Dayak voters didn’t agree wth us.”

“Democracy requires of us to abide by the majority decision. So we did. In 1994 PBDS rejoined BN. It wasn’t an easy decision, nevertheless,” said Masing.

It is thus his hope that the Generation Y of the Dayak community would read up and know more about the history of Dayak leaders past and present, their political struggle and develop an understanding of who were involved.

“With such understanding, they (Dayak Gen-Y) may think twice before criticising the current leaders.

He called on all to learn from history and move forward as one political entity to fight for all Sarawakians, regardless of racial differences.

“It must be One Sarawak. One fight and for all Sarawakians. Unless we are united, Sarawakians will always be regarded as distant second cousins by the people from Peninsular Malaysia. We will be left behind again,” said Masing. — DayakDaily