By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Feb 15: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing is amazed at the findings of the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development that 10 districts in Sarawak are among the poorest in the country.
“I was quite surprised by the findings. As a person who had done substantial research, I can’t comment on the accuracy of their findings until I know who were the respondents, how many were involved and what were the questions asked.
“Till I have this information, I can’t testify whether the findings are the true reflections of the situation in these 10 districts,” Masing said today.
He stressed that in any research, the quality of the research is crucial as there was a danger in any research — “rubbish in, rubbish out”.
Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, was commenting on Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Rina Harun’s recent revelation that Pakan District is the poorest in the country. It has an income per capita of only RM2,760. Other districts in the list from Sarawak include Lubok Antu, Song, Kanowit, Selangau, Simunjan and Daro.
Rina also revealed that there were 28 poor districts throughout the country and that her ministry would give them special attention by implementing socio-economic development programmes.
Meanwhile, Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, is the first Iban to complete anthropological research (PhD thesis) entitled `The Coming of the Gods’ from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, in 1982.
According to him, his research showed how the Iban religion affects their thinking and cultural behaviours. He also did research on the Batang Ai and Bakun HEP and their acceptance of these developments. — DayakDaily