KUCHING: A large crowd turned up at the MAS Cargo Terminal of Kuching International Airport (KIA) to receive the coffin containing the remains of the late Temenggong Datuk James Jimbun Pungga from Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon.
Jimbun, aged 77 who was former Kapit MP, passed away at Serdang Hospital in Selangor early Tuesday morning.
Accompanying the remains from Kuala Lumpur were his wife Datin Senorita Linang and family members.
After administrative clearance at the cargo terminal, his remains were driven to his house at Lorong Wan Alwi here for members of his family, friends and the public to pay their last respects.
When contacted yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, who also hails from Kapit, said Jimbun’s demise is a great loss to the Dayak community.
“His gentle diplomatic ways of settling disputes will be greatly missed,” he told The Borneo Post via WhatsApp on his way to Kapit for an official function.
Masing also said Jimbun was a great asset to the government in making Baleh HEP dam possible.
Bukit Goram assemblyman Jefferson Jamit Unyat described Jimbun as his elderly brother and one of his mentors in politics.
He commended him for being a well respected fatherly figure and said his passing would be a great loss to the community in Kapit.
“Jimbun was a great leader by example and he was an inspiration for many young leaders.
“He stressed the importance of education, being one of the first few graduates from the rural community in Kapit,” he said.
“Even in the civil service he was a role model, where he was a district officer, Resident and permanent secretary before he entered politics and becoming a paramount Iban chief,” he said.
He would be dearly missed by many people in Kapit as he was a well-liked figure, Jamit said further.
Former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said he was very sad at the passing of Jimbun.
Jabu lauded him as a man who had a lot of respect for others and a motivator for others to be role models for their community.
“He was very hard working and had a great character and was very well mannered,” he said.
Jimbun’s daughter Amelia Sima will always remember her father as a role model to many and her family.
She said her father was a man with principle.
“He always expected his children to very punctual in what they do daily. And what I like about my father is that he was a family man. He put his family first. He always wanted his children to be together and grow up together,” she Wilfred Pilo, [email protected]
“I will miss him. And what I will miss most is his teasing,” she lamented.
The church service for the late Jimbun will be at St. Faith’s Church in Kenyalang Park at 1pm on Saturday before proceeding to Batu Kitang Anglican Cemetery for burial.
Among those receiving his remains at the cargo terminal and paying their last respects to Jimbun were Machan assemblyman Allan Siden Gramong, Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu, Katibas assemblyman Ambrose Balikau Enturan, First Division Infantry commander Major General Datuk Stephen Mundaw, Tan Sri Empiang Jabu and local community leaders.