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by Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Oct 28: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has denied media reports that party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had admitted or said the establishment of the Federal Village Community Management Council (MPKKP) was a ‘weapon’ to conquer Sarawak.
Stressing that Lim has never uttered such words, Chong said people can watch the recorded live video of the speech, which was made during the Sarawak DAP Convention in Miri yesterday.
“The words were put in Lim’s mouth. I don’t know where such terms came about in the media report. GPS is now using the term ‘weapon’ to smear MPKKP,” Chong told reporters after attending a Deepavali celebration at the Indian Association Kuching building this morning.
When asked how did he get the idea that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) said MPKKP is a ‘weapon’, when it was the media who reported Lim saying so, Chong replied, “I did not say media misquoted Lim, but based on the report, this is how GPS has termed MPKKP, a weapon.
“GPS is now using that allegation by turning it around to attack the federal government, making as if it is a fact. Right now, GPS feels it is a weapon because MPKKP has made the rural people feel empowered. The GPS stronghold has been shaken and they should rightly feel so because their monopoly to control the rural people is not stable anymore,” Chong added.
Explaining MPKKP’s role, he said the establishment of MPKKP is mainly to empower the people especially those in rural areas so that they have a choice and additional channel to attend programmes and most importantly, receive assistance and funding from the federal government.
He stressed that in the past, rural people only had one choice, which was Barisan Nasional (BN). After 55 years, they continue to rely on BN, but until today many areas are still undeveloped and very poor, according to Chong.
“Now when the federal government has changed, we in Pakatan Harapan (PH) provides alternatives for the people to choose, and so much so, that GPS does not have the stronghold and they cannot ‘strangle’ the rural people anymore.”
Citing the example of today’s Deepavali celebration, Chong said they were suppose to channel the ‘Kasih’ welfare fund earlier, but could not do so despite approaching several Indian associations in the past.
Now that the federal and state government are from different camps, Chong alleged that some associations are worried about receiving assistance from the federal government because they fear reprisal from the state government.
“That is why it is important for the federal government to set up MPKKP for the rural areas. A lot of our federal government welfare projects cannot be channelled down to the people there because the Village Development and Security Committees (JKKKs) were warned by the state government not to liaise with us. The JKKKs were afraid to accept our assistance and allocation which were meant for them in the first place. Hence, this is why we had to set up MPKKP to make sure what belongs to the rural people will reach them.
Denouncing it as a problem across the whole state, Chong alleged that many JKKKs were warned by district offices and some associations were warned by the state government not to work together with federal agencies, including accepting any community or welfare projects.
He said this is a very serious problem for the rural people, so much so that when these federal projects failed to reach them, the state government will then claim the federal government does not care, when in actual fact, it was the state government that is sabotaging the initiatives.
“The rakyat in rural areas should not have their rights taken away by the GPS-led state government. GPS must not deprive the rural people of the benefits that they should have been receiving,” Chong said. — DayakDaily