Hornbill Unleashed

March 29, 2012

Masing: If we tell you to walk backwards, do it

Keruah Usit

When most Malaysian cabinet ministers open their mouths to talk, you might not expect much in the way of reasoned debate or intelligent conversation.

But James Masing, rejoicing under the stupendous title of Senior Minister (for land) in Abdul Taib Mahmud’s Sarawak cabinet, ought to be different.

He has a PhD in anthropology. He was once a dissident, a leading light in the opposition Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).

PBDS was a ‘pan-Dayakism’ party that nearly toppled Taib in 1987, but then crumbled under the prolonged and canny pressure of Taib’s iron fist. Eventually, nearly all PBDS leaders were bought over to BN, by Taib’s promises of power and timber concessions.

james masingMasing himself has now been accused of profiting from his wife Corinne Bua Nyipa’s extraordinary good fortune. According to the website Sarawak Report, a gadfly to Taib’s cabinet, Masing’s wife enjoys a huge logging concession (although she has no obvious credentials as a lumberjack).

She is a prominent shareholder and director of companies that have been showered with government contracts worth RM100 million to build roads and rural classrooms, and to run electricity generators in Kapit’s deprived schools.

Sarawak Report has systematically exposed the skeletons in Taib’s cabinet in recent weeks. The website has run shocking stories on BN ministers and elected representatives, buried to their eyeballs in government largesse and conflict of interest.

Perhaps this helps explain Masing’s outburst a fortnight ago. He told voters: “Jangan lawan tauke” – warning them not to go against the boss.

Politics in reverse

Masing later spoke out to defend his view, brandishing textbooks of political science. He insisted that elected representatives are ‘the bosses’ during the five or so years after each election.

“The confusion, it appears, is on the role of the legislature – which is the elected representatives or YBs. All YBs are elected by the people/voters. During the polling day, the ‘rakyat’ (people) who have been registered as voters are the boss. The power is invested on the ‘rakyat’ by the legislature, to elect who should be the administrator/boss of their lives for the next five years,” he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.

“Once they have elected their YBs or the administrators, the role changes. The elected representatives become the administrators/boss of the ‘rakyat’, while the ‘rakyat’ plays a subservient role and will seek assistance from the YBs from time to time.

“If their YBs, for instance, pass a law which tells the ‘rakyat’ to walk backward, the ‘rakyat’ must walk backward… Within the period of five years, the elected representatives have the freedom to decide what is best for the ‘rakyat’. If one or two people feel being neglected by their administrators/YBs, they have to wait for five years to change their elected representatives.”

As retired MP Sim Kwang Yang has pointed out before, Masing surely understands the principle of the social contract espoused by Locke, Rousseau and Hobbes.

This is, of course, not the witless and racist “social contract” imposed on Malaya by the departing British. The social contract is a mutual agreement: the population gives up certain individual liberties to the state, in order that the government exists to provide security and services to the people.

“A government is legitimate morally as long as it looks after the personal security, the prosperity, and the natural rights of citizens,” Sim wrote in 2009, in an open letter to Masing.

“When that government fails in its duty to the governed, then the people have the right to change the government – by a revolution even, according to Locke.”

In his erudite history ‘The Age of Revolution’, Eric Hobsbawm remarked on the ‘birth certificate’ of modern democracy in the French Revolution – the seminal constitution established by the Jacobin regime in 1793.

“The people were offered universal suffrage, the right of insurrection, work or maintenance, and – most significant of all – the official statement that the happiness of all was the aim of government and the people’s rights were to be not merely available but operative,” Hobsbawm observed.

Distraction by hyperbole

Two centuries later, Masing continues to pretend modern democracy begins and ends with regular elections every five years, where votes are paid for out of the taxpayers’ own money.

Masing gets full marks for using highly publicised, overtly stupid political statements, in an attempt to deflect attention away from the torrent of Sarawak Report articles exposing the huge contracts awarded to companies fronted by wealthy ministers’ families.

But can this smokescreen hide the allegations of corruption indefinitely?

KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist – ‘anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia’. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalised Malaysians. Keruah Usit can be contacted at keruah_usit@yahoo.com



  1. Taib Mahmud and Dayak leaders from BN have been thriving on the ignorance of the majority of the poor rural Dayak and Melanau/Malay communities. Political awareness and education on election right will make these rural voters stand up for their rights and vote against corruption and abuse of power by BN lawmakers and ministers.

    Comment by Lee Hui — March 31, 2012 @ 12:37 PM | Reply

  2. NOT a single Dayak leaders, past and present, whose luxurious lifestyle depended on BN political patronage, will spare a thought for and would not care for the rural poor and whose NCR lands had been admonished and grabbed by the thief minister , the powerful and rich.

    All right thinking Dayaks and NGOs must stop at nothing to help the rural poor and Dayak youths to kick out the corrupted and vindictive BN Dayak YBs and Candidates in GE13.

    Comment by Jessica Simon — March 31, 2012 @ 10:50 AM | Reply

  3. This opinion was made in Dayakbaru on 17 March 2012 before the James Masing scandal blew up.

    Comments by “Dayak Militant”

    I’ m Malaysian, the native of Sarawak. I pay taxes and should have equal rights with other Malaysians. I have the rights to travel anywhere in Malaysia without any restriction.

    I can work in any part of Malaysia, I can buy any properties in Malaysia. I can buy any shares in KLSE. I can invest in any funds.

    I can offer myself as candidate to stand in any election. I can campaign for myself or any candidate for any registered party.

    The problems are;
    1. Iban/ dayak BN ybs slowly surrendered our rights to the ketuanan Melayu.
    2. Iban BN ybs collaborated with BN leaders to rob our lands.
    3 dayak BN ybs cheated their own communities
    4. Dayak BN ybs manipulated the poor dayaks by delaying the basic infrastructure.
    5. Dayak BN ybs abused their power to victimize those dayaks who opposed them.
    6. Dayak BN ybs abused dayak community leaders.
    7. Dayak BN leaders deprived the poor dayaks of their rights to education, business, own NCR lands.
    8. Dayak BN leaders are Bago & Ago because they don’t care about the poor dayaks as long as they receive kickbacks & free shares from robbing dayak NCR lands in collaboration with BN thief ministers.

    It must be added the following:

    9. Dayaks were used as UMNO mercenaries in Malaya and Sarawak to defend UMNO BN interests and its plunder of Sarawak wealth. They fought the communists to strengthen UMNO colonial rule of Sarawak. They were used over 170 years of history again and again.

    Having Dayak BN YBs performing the coup de grace for UMNO BN on all Dayaks is the worst thing to happen to us!

    Comment by Dayak Life — March 30, 2012 @ 1:30 AM | Reply


    1963 is the landmark date which divides the previous British colonial rule from the present Malayan colonial rule.

    James Masing’s arrogance was so overwhelming that he could make this statement: ” If their YBs, for instance, pass a law which tells the ‘rakyat’ to walk backward, the ‘rakyat’ must walk backward”

    He forgot who elected him in the first place and as an MP must do the bidding of the people and not the other way round.

    However, his statement also reflected some reality in the social conditions of the Dayaks… They have indeed been “walked” backwards to a situation worse than before 1963 by their mis-leaders

    Now Dayaks have lost so much of their traditional rights and land compared to pre-1963 when the law was observed to protect NCR land. Now their land is being stolen under the pretext of “development”.

    The Dayak YBs are committing their crimes against their own people so openly and unashamedly. “YBs” like Masing have developed such thick skins that he can totally disregard the feelings of his electorate and treat them with such arrogance as to tell them not to fight the bosses.

    He forgot that the people are his “boss”.

    So people as the real boss you must unite and fire all them dirty corrupt YBs! It is within your power.

    Comment by SARAWAKIANS — March 30, 2012 @ 1:11 AM | Reply

  5. Lucky that he is a lawyar(not lawyer), forcing a horse to drink, otherwise our the poor rural kampong folks will subject to much humiliation. Ever realize that what had been prophesied is now fulfilled. Who is the towkay? Who is the real blood sucker?

    Comment by miaOwkia — March 29, 2012 @ 8:59 PM | Reply


      But Dayak brothers and sisters for the majority of tribal people, it was bitter from the beginning because the last Rajah sold out Sarawak to British colonial and broke the promise made by the Second Rajah to protect the tribal people.

      We have endured 70 years of colonialism under the Japanese, British and Malayans which has seen the Dayaks being dragged into dire poverty and deprivation of their land.

      If we rely on the rich Dayak towkays we will never free ourselves from colonial masters.

      It seems like repeating a worn out record player to say that Rentap is our national hero because he resisted Brooke conquest. However he would not have been a “hero” if he had surrendered.

      Be very clear that the exposed Dayak towkays made deals with Taib and surrendered Dayak rights and even steal their own people’s jointly owned land.

      This is a crime against the people who have toiled and tilled the land for their common benefit for centuries. Will the spirits of our ancestors rest in peace when their land have been stolen and their ancestral graves been destroyed?

      The Chinese have woken up to their rich towkay leaders in the SUPP and sent them to the electoral hell.

      The time is now for all Dayaks to unite among themselves and with non-Dayaks to fight for a better Sarawak by getting rid of the old corrupt regime.

      Do let ourselves be dragged through another 50 years of misery and sufferings!

      Comment by ANON — March 29, 2012 @ 11:59 PM | Reply

      • “Don’t let ourselves be dragged through another 50 years of misery and sufferings!”

        Comment by ANON — March 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM | Reply


    The Dayak leaders sell out Dayaks to keep Taib PBB BN in power which in turn keeps UMNO BN in power.

    We need to pause and do some reality check:

    Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad said “Criticising the government’s critics as “less intelligent”, he argued that Malaysia was a maritime country, and estimated that there was more than 600,000sq kilometres of sea area to cover (twice as much as Malaysia’s land mass).

    This area, he said, was filled with gas and petroleum deposits, that Malaysia had to guard.”

    Now this statement reveals that most of the 600,000 sq km of sea area related to Sabah and Sarawak rich in more gas and petroleum deposits.

    This is what Taib Masing and the Dayak towkay leaders have betrayed us to UMNO.

    They are prepared to sacrifice all Sarawak oil wealth just to enrich themselves for a few hundred millions for themselves while Malaya is fattened with our development funds and crooks like Mahathir get even rich with their Petronas favoured companies.

    Comment by ANON — March 29, 2012 @ 3:50 PM | Reply


    The truth always comes out!

    Now we know what Jimmy was saying “Jagan Lawan the real boss J Masing” ! He is one of the 28 Dayak taukeys who benefitted by selling out “Dayakism” in 1987 to keep Taib in power.

    Thus in 1987 Dayaks lost the opportunity to gain ascendency in politics!

    Your people are proud of you! Now we understand why Taib and you have a “special relationship”!

    Thanks to traitor James Masing!

    Comment by Angry Dayak — March 29, 2012 @ 3:28 PM | Reply

    • so why wait?
      why not just bulldozes these traitors!

      I am still waiting ….. have the proper hardware ready!

      Comment by HH2H — March 29, 2012 @ 11:37 PM | Reply

      • Mate our brothers already burnt the company equipment & tractors… so what are we waiting fo

        Comment by Headhunters1Million — March 30, 2012 @ 12:11 AM | Reply

  8. Jangan lawan boss?

    But in 1987 Masing himself tell Dayaks “Jangan TAKUT lawan Boss”

    Apa macam sekarang Dayak ?

    Jangan lawan Boss atau Jangan Takut lawan Boss???


    Accept reality, group tells CM
    Sarawak Tribune, 12 March 1987

    KUALA LUMPUR – The group of 28 elected representatives of Bersatu yesterday welcomed Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir’s advice to the Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, that the present crisis be handled within the bounds of the State constitution.

    Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir was reported as having told the Chief Minister this on Tuesday when he met a delegation of Barisan Nasional leaders from the state at Seri Perdana.

    The group also described as “unwise” the calling of a snap state election to solve the crisis.

    A spokeman for the group, Dr James Masing of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), said that “in the period of political turmoil, uncertainty and the emergence of polarisation in the state, there is no guarantee that issues detrimental to racial harmony and stability will not be brought forth during an election campaign”

    Dr Masing said this in a statement issued at a hotel here which is the group’s temporary base in the city.

    The statement was issued after one of its delegations met Umno Youth head Anwar Ibrahim.

    Dr Masing said the group wanted to “get down to the business of the government without delay, for any further delay is bound to afffect the welfare of the people.”

    He said that since 28 of the 48 state assemblymen had expressed their loss of confidence in Datuk Patinggi Taib, the Chief Minister was constitutionally bound to tender his resignation and allow the group to form a new government.

    He reminded the Chief Minister of the meaning of Article 7-1 of the State constitution which states: If the Chief Minister ceases to command the confidence of a majority of the members of Dewan Undangan Negeri, then unless at his request the Yang di-Pertua Negeri dissolves the Dewan Undangan Negeri, the Chief Minister shall tender the resignation of the members of Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri.”

    Datuk Taib and company must accept this because this is what the State constitution provides. The Chief Minister should not cling to power when he knows for certain that he has ceased to command the majority support in Council Negeri. If Datuk Taib truly cares for the people of Sarawak, then he must resign forthwith,” he said.

    “Bersatu does not wish to wash dirty linen in public nor involve in mud-slinging because this will only bring about bitter recriminations and will not help to solve the problem. We want to get down to the business of government without delay for any further is bound to affect the welfare of the people.” he added.

    He said Tun Rahman has denied an allegation that Tengku Razaleigh and himself are the prime movers in the move by Bersatu. “This allegation is part of Datuk Taib’s effort to pit Bersatu against the Prime Minister,” he added.

    The Bersatu group and Tun Rahman fully support the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, he said.

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — March 29, 2012 @ 2:05 PM | Reply

  9. We should put up banners and posters and hang them in sarawak ” JANGAN LAWAN TAUKEY” BY JAMES JEMUT MASING..satu lagi projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

    Comment by anakmuridcikgu — March 29, 2012 @ 12:03 PM | Reply


    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — March 29, 2012 @ 11:50 AM | Reply

  11. So it is evident that the electorates mostly ignoramus Iban folks are “walking backwards” in every form of civility, educationally and economically. Its a pity the supposedly educated Iban politician and anthropologist is dragging his kinds to the pit of hell. He (Jemut) must have read and been influenced by atheists western politicians.

    Comment by Mandela — March 29, 2012 @ 11:38 AM | Reply

  12. long live towkey james masing…kekekekekek

    Comment by mike — March 29, 2012 @ 10:43 AM | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: