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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 3: The late Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has been laid to rest at the Nirvana Memorial Park Kuching at Bau here at about 2.30pm today after an emotional funeral service for the leader who had dedicated his entire life to serve Sarawak especially the Dayak community.
An emotional farewell to Masing that took place at the Association of Churches in the morning drew thousands including family members, relatives, friends as well as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders, members and supporters who came from near and far.
Masing’s sendoff was also attended by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and other Sarawak cabinet ministers.
After a prayer service in Iban language, handlers removed and folded the State flag in a triangle which was presented to Masing’s widow Puan Sri Dato Corrine Masing by Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai.
Thereafter, the coffin containing Masing, 72, who died from lung complications after recovering from Covid-19 on Sunday, was lowered into the ground.
Masing’s widow Corrine then laid a wreath on top of the casket, followed by Masing’s children Dr Anna Sulan Masing, Rachel Lian Masing, Karen Julan Masing, Ashley Layo Masing and Emma Maria Masing.
Hundreds and thousands of mourners who gathered at Nirvana Memorial Park also placed flowers and tossed handful of soil onto the casket as they bid their last farewell to Sarawak’s favourite son and a true statesman.
The grieving family and many relatives and friends continued to stay on until the very last moment when the casket was tiled and cemented.
The demise of Masing is a great loss to Sarawak that has left a huge void in the lives of all he touched.
Mourners described Masing as not just a great and respected leader, but as a gentleman, a kind and brilliant man, a Dayak paramount chief, a politician mentor, a scholar, a father figure, a visionary, an utterly authentic Iban patriarch and a man of strong convictions.
Farewell Tan Sri Masing, rest in peace.