He was very learned in the Iban language, history and culture, having written several books.
KUCHING: Former Sri Aman MP Jimmy Donald passed away last night after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 72.
His family was around him when he died at the Sarawak General Hospital here at 7.30pm.
Donald, a former school principal, served as Sri Aman MP from 1995 to 2008. He made his political debut via the now defunct BN component party, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).
Following the deregistration of PBDS in 2003 following an internal party fight, Donald joined Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), led by the current Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Jemut Masing.
However, when the then PRS deputy president Larry Sng was sacked, Donald left with some party members to join PKR, serving later as the party’s state vice-chairman. He later contested and lost the state seat of Bukit Begenun in the 2011 state elections.
Following that defeat, he joined the DAP and served as the party’s Balai Ringin chairman.
Donald is survived by his wife, Mary Andrew, and five children, including Leon Jimat Donald, who is DAP’s Sri Aman chairman.
During his time with the DAP, Donald helped the opposition party expand its reach into the rural Iban communities.
Donald also wrote “Panggap”, an Iban work of fiction as well as a dozen of other books on Dayak Iban languages and anthropology.
In 2002, he was conferred the state medal “Pegawai Bintang Sarawak” (Officer of the Order of the Star of Sarawak) for his political and social contributions to the state.
“I’m saddened by his passing. He was a good man and he was very learned in the Iban language and culture.
“His demise is a loss to the state. I wish to express my deepest condolences to Donald’s family and to Leon,” Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen told FMT.
“The Iban community has lost a prolific writer on Iban history and customs,” Masing said when he visited the family home today to pay his last respects.
“We’ve always kept in touch, in spite of political differences in the later part of his career. I respected him for what he did for the Dayak community,” he said.
The wake will be held at No.334, Lorong 1, Everbright Estate, Jalan Batu Kawa here, starting at 7.30pm on Wednesday night.
The funeral service will be held at 9am the following morning at St Basil’s Church Batu Kawa, after which Donald’s remains will be laid to rest at SDNU Cemetery Siol Kandis in Petra Jaya.
freemalaysiatoday March 28,2017