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Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi Taib paying their last respects to the late Tan Sri James Masing at his home in Jalan Laksama Cheng Ho in Kuching, November 1, 2021. — Bernama pic
Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi Taib paying their last respects to the late Tan Sri James Masing at his home in Jalan Laksama Cheng Ho in Kuching, November 1, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUCHING, Nov 1 — Asking the late Tan Sri James Jemut Masing to resign as a senior officer from the Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (SESCo) is one of the moments still remembered by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib, who was Sarawak chief minister for 33 years before retiring in 2014, said he had asked Masing to do so at the time, as he could see the potential in Masing to become a successful politician who had the people’s interests at heart.

“One day, I called Masing when he was working at Sesco, and asked him, ‘Can I ask you nicely to resign (from your job)?” Taib told the media after paying his last respects to the late Masing today.

According to Taib, Masing was surprised by the request and replied: “Ooh…what have I done recently (that led you to ask me to resign)?” before the former revealed the plan to bring him into politics and become one of his Cabinet members.

“Masing replied, ‘I don’t know whether I am going to be a good politician’ but I told him ‘you’re sincere, you love your people, you will do well and he did very well. Very nice man. He served his area well and he had many friends here in Kuching,” said Taib.

Taib said Masing was a good friend and colleague, as well as a minister who was dedicated in carrying out his duties when he joined the Sarawak Cabinet during his time as the chief minister of Sarawak.

“I’m very sad to have lost a friend and a colleague, he was such a polite, nice man. I really feel happy to have been associated with him and having him as one of my ministers before,” he said.

Taib’s wife, Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi Taib and several state leaders also paid their last respects to the late Masing at his home in Jalan Laksama Cheng Ho here.

Masing, 72, who was Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Baleh state assemblyman, died at the Normah Sarawak Medical Centre (NSMC) in Petra Jaya, here, at 7.05am yesterday.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sarawak General Hospital in September after testing positive for Covid-19, and then transferred to NSMC for follow-up treatment.

A ceremony will also be held on Wednesday for the public to pay their last respects to the deceased at the Association of Churches in Sarawak building at Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho, before the body is taken to the Nirvana Memorial Park for burial. — Bernama


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