KUCHING: Village chiefs and community leaders should be elected by their people without political interference, said Dr Johnical Rayong (PSB – Engkilili).
He warned that if such interference continue, the rural communities will be split further especially after the Federal Village Community Management Council (MPKKP) is established and competes with the current Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) in the villages and longhouses.
“It looks like the JKKK and MPKKP problem, or the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government versus Pakatan Harapan (PH), is going to get worse. This matter should not have happened. In the end the people in the villages and longhouses will be the victims of political games,” he said when debating the 2020 State Budget at the State Legislative Assembly today.
According to Dr Rayong, the appointment of village chiefs and community leaders should go through the correct process which is election.
“The folks of longhouses, villages and Chinese settlements should elect among themselves who should be the tuai rumah, ketua kampung or kapitan. After reaching a consensus, they should submit the minutes of the election to the District Office for approval by the Resident Office.
“This should not involve politicians. If this process is not done correctly and fairly, there will be many problems cropping up especially those concerning the credibility of the person (the one appointed to the post). I as the people’s representative of Engkilili am taking this matter seriously,” he said.
On another matter, Dr Rayong spoke about the racial imbalance in the appointment of civil servants in Sarawak, which he reiterated is a much-talked about issue among the people.
As such, he called on the minister in-charge of civil service appointments to deliberate and explain the matter during the ministerial winding up next week.
He also suggested to the government to stop extending the services of government officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age of 60.
“The main reason is to give more opportunities to the younger people to join the civil service. Such self-indulgent move is also closing opportunities for the other officers to climb up the rank,” he said.
On another matter, he called on the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) to increase dividends to shareholders in line with the entity’s objective to improve the incomes of the rural people.
He also told the august House that Lemanak/ Merindum Scheme in his constituency in Engkilili is the earliest Salcra scheme to be established.
“They were recently shocked to learn from the mainstream news that three senior Salcra officers and a businessman were investigated by Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).
“They are hoping to get better dividends because they have agreed their NCR land to be be planted with oil palm by Salcra for many years already. Salcra management must explain these issues to the landowners affected so that they continue to have confidence in Salcra,” he added.