By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: The only way to stop tomb raiders is to end the ancient native tradition of burying personal treasures of the deceased with them, said Sarawaks most senior Iban minister, as the state was hit by yet another case of graveyard-plundering.
Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing, who is State Minister for Land Development, and the most senior Iban minister in the Sarawak Cabinet, said there would be no end to grave desecration and breaking into tombs of native communities if the practice of burying personal valuables with the deceased continued.
Sad to say, there seems to be no other practical alternative. The only truly effective way to ensure such despicable acts of robbing the dead is put to a complete stop in Sarawak is to end this ancient tradition of putting the personal treasures inside the coffins.
As long as there are treasures inside the coffins, grave robbers will not stop their shameful and disgraceful activities.
These people have no respect for anything or anybody. All they are after is easy gain. They will even rob the dead.
Native communities should follow the Chinese-style of burial. Instead of burying the actual personal items of the deceased, family members could burn paper models of such items at the gravesite,’’ he said when interviewed yesterday.
Dr Masing, who is president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak, was asked to comment on yet another case of tombs being desecrated by robbers at an Anglican cemetery here.