Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg today described the passing of his deputy James Jemut Masing as a huge loss for the state.
Speaking in Lawas, he said Masing was a leader who had always had the people’s interest at heart.
“I feel very sad, and I personally extend my condolences to the family,” he said. “He was a friend in our government who had contributed much in managing the state, especially in sharing his ideas since he became a Cabinet member under Taib Mahmud and the late Adenan Satem, and then with me.”
Abang Johari said he last met Masing at a meeting, adding that his deputy had been unable to attend a second one due to his health condition.
“We postponed the meeting until we heard the news this morning,” he said.
“I feel his loss as a friend and as a Cabinet member who contributed a lot to the urban and rural communities, especially the Dayaks.”
Masing, the president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak, is survived by his wife and five children.
He joined the state Cabinet and served as tourism minister in 1996. He subsequently held three other portfolios and defended his Baleh state seat for eight consecutive terms before being appointed as second deputy chief minister on Jan 23, 2017.