JULAU: Julau MP Datuk Joseph Salang has suggested that the appointment of longhouse chief (tuai rumah) should best be given to the longhouse folk to decide.
Speaking when paying a pre-Gawai Dayak visit to Rh Philip Janting in Uku Bejawai, Sankong yesterday, he opined that it should ideally not involve politicians.
He pointed out that the appointment of longhouse chief could revert to the traditional way, allowing the longhouse folks to choose their own chief.
Once they had chosen their chief, the district officer would confirm their choice, then the Resident would give his approval.
“Politicians should not be involved as their choice might not necessarily be the people’s choice. Let us not be the cause for the longhouse to break up or disunited because of our personal choice,” he said.
He added that he had spoken to the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem on the matter.
Salang said he personally thought there was nothing wrong for the longhouse chief to be seen having coffee in the coffee shop with members of the opposition.
He believed this would allow the longhouse folk to know the opposition and their beliefs better.
“They (longhouse folk) should not be punished for doing so,” he added.
He also said the existing longhouse chiefs should be allowed to continue their service if there was no serious complaints against them.
“On the other hand, the Penghulu or Pemanca should be consulted if the longhouses concerned have valid reasons to change their chief or to appoint a new one when the situation necessitates,” he said.
Salang regretted that there were some leaders who would want to show off their power and interfere in the appointment by insisting on their own choice and not the people’s choice.
“Politics is in fact a very dynamic process. The situation can change where those who oppose you in the past may want to support you while your supporters may later want to go against you,” he said.
He also reminded that the longhouse chiefs had greater responsibilities now as they had to take up other roles as well.
Meanwhile, he advised more than 30 longhouse chiefs who are still waiting for their official appointment letter to be patient.
Salang, who is the chairman of 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council, later visited two other longhouses where he extended Gawai Dayak greetings to the folks.