Detailed study needed before any revision to allowances of community leaders, says Sikie

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Sikie (seated middle) speaks to reporters. Also seen are his deputy ministers Datuk Gerawat Gla (seated right) and Dato Jefferson Jamit (seated left) and officials from Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak.

KUCHING (Nov 27): Any revisions to the allowances of over 7,500 community leaders and village chiefs in Sarawak will need to be thoroughly studied first, said Minister in the Premier’s Department Dato Sri John Sikie Tayai.

He said the Sarawak government is aware that Sabah has increased the allowances of its community leaders, but the state cannot rush a similar move until a thorough study is completed.

“A lot of things need to be taken into account. Here, some longhouses normally have 20 to 30 doors, but those from the Orang Ulu community have up to 200 doors. You see the difference there. Some ‘ketua kaum’ are taking care of 20 to 30 doors but some others have 200 doors (to take care of).

“There is no time frame (to complete the study) as long as we can find a good solution for it,” he told reporters after presenting his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly here today.

Earlier in his speech, Sikie said the ministry has taken note of the issue raised by the representatives of Tebedu, Serembu, Lingga, Tellian, Opar, Pelagus, Tamin and Beting Maro in relation to the proposed salary increase for community leaders and allowances for ketua kaum.

He revealed the last time the Sarawak government adjusted their salaries and allowances was in 2018, and the government is aware of their important role in delivering information related on the latest policies to the grassroots.

“The government is also aware of the increase in the cost of living and their increasing roles and responsibilities. Therefore, the government will examine in detail these requirements for the 7,585 community leaders and ketua kaum throughout Sarawak,” he said.

Currently, monthly allowance for community leaders is RM1,300, while village heads receive RM900 and councillors get RM300.

On a related matter, Sikie said to date, the government has received a total of 876 applications for proposals on the creation of new positions of community leaders and ketua kaum from all divisions statewide.