Directive inhibits community leaders from carrying out duties, says Pending rep

Violet Yong

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Oct 18: The state is denying community leaders their right to execute their duties freely, if it really issued a directive prohibiting them from attending programmes not organised by the ruling government.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said the circular purportedly issued by the State Secretary to all Resident’s Office, is very irresponsible and should be stopped as it does not reflect the spirit of a government that is selected through democratic practices.

“Be it the Sarawak governing GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) coalition or the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government, the lawmakers were elected by the people.

“Community leaders, including ketua kampung and tuai rumah, were identified by their villagers or longhouse community to represent them in fighting for or safeguarding their rights. They are the intermediary between the people and the government.

“By issuing such a circular, the state is denying and taking away the rights and freedom of these community leaders and putting them in a difficult situation,” the DAP lawmaker told reporters after inspecting a telecommunication tower issue at Taman Supreme here today.

She added that many community leaders are doing their best in carrying out their duties by overlooking the political divide, when they attend functions or programmes organised by the state or federal government.

This will enable them to keep abreast with government programmes and policies so they can update or disseminate information to their people.

Such a directive would only hamper the community leaders from effectively carrying out their duties, she continued.

“The circular would create division, hatred, dislike and bring a boycott-type of trend that should be stopped.

“Morshidi or Abang Johari should cancel this unwarranted, unfriendly and undemocratic circular,” Yong said, in reference to State Secretary Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

She felt that GPS should not have “acted childish” in issuing such a directive.

If GPS wants to compete with Pakatan for the people’s affection and support, they should compete by implementing policies that are good for the people, she continued.

“I find this disappointing that until today, there is still no mutual respect from the Sarawak government to the Pakatan government despite GPS claiming they are Pakatan-friendly,” she said.

Yong reminded that the money to pay community leaders comes from the taxpayers. The state government is elected through the people’s power and they should not treat the state’s coffers as their own personal fund.

The said circular, dated Oct 11, 2018, carries the signature of the state secretary and has been circulating over social media.

It stated that community leaders are prohibited from attending events and programmes not organised by the state government or unapproved bodies. — DayakDaily