Thursday 18 November, 2010
Radio Free Sarawak gets seal of approval from BN minister James Masing
Speaking in a set piece interview on the Rajang River log jam disaster, broadcast Friday 19th November on Radio Free Sarawak , James Masing, who is the Iban representative of the area and a senior minister in Taib’s BN government said that he welcomed the new radio station’s arrival on the scene.
Speaking in Iban he said he “liked the idea” of the alternative radio station and said “other ministers would be happy to talk on your show, it is very nice”. Coming out in favour of allowing Sarawak a free media, he also signalled his approval of Sarawak’s blogging community, such as Sarawak Report and Malaysia Today. He said, “bloggers are everywhere you cannot stop them”.
In a wide ranging interview, conducted in a mixture of Iban and Malay with RFS’s anchor man, Papa Orang Utan, Masing confessed that the government has been getting it wrong on a number of important fronts including logging he said “God is angry with us for taking the logs”. He admitted there was not enough supervision from the NREB or The Forest Dept. By doing so he effectively contradicted the government’s claims that this is a natural disaster and not a man-made disaster.
He also acknowledged BN’s lamentable failure to implement key human rights in native areas, accepting that many indigenous people still suffer grievously because they have not received birth certificates or ID cards over the last 30 years of Taib’s government.
James Masing, who is minister of land and the leader of the key Iban PRS party with 9 seats in the coalition, had just completed a traditional Miring ceremony in Balleh to appease the gods over what had happened with the logging disaster. Despite his obvious reservations, he nevertheless resisted repeated questions about whether he was planning to ‘jump ship’ before the next election.
The full interview can be heard on Radio Free Sarawak on Friday 19th November at 6.30-7.30 am – 7590 kHz and repeated at 1800-1900 – 15680 kHz, alternatively log on to our podcast at www.radiofreesarawak.org.