KUCHING, Oct 21: The Dayak National Congress (DNC) calls on ministers and elected representatives (YBs) not to go overboard in their quests to solicit for political support.
Its president Paul Raja held that voters now are media and tech savvy following the accessibility to social media and news of the world even though they may be residing in longhouses.
“They are politically aware of their rights vis-a-vis the duties of their elected representative towards them,” he reminded.
Paul expressed deep disappointment over the statement of an assistant minister telling community leaders who are not on the same page with the ruling coalition to quit.
Quoting the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 (CCHO 2004), section 7(2) – “All allowances, benefits or privileges given or accorded to Chiefs and Headmen shall be charged against the State Consolidated Fund”, Paul pointed out that the State Consolidated Fund used to pay the politicians also pay the community leaders.
“Let it be known that community leaders and the YBs and ministers are all co-servants of the rakyat.
“Therefore, it’s the rakyat who will determine the fate and position of both the community leaders and the YBs or ministers. It’s the rakyat who is the ultimate boss or ‘taukey’ of both the community leaders and the YBs.”
He also reminded that the YBs and ministers were also the ones responsible for the making it the law that community leaders must be apolitical.
Section 8 (1) of the CCHO provides: “No person who is appointed a Chief or Headman shall (a) hold any post in a political party;”
He said the objective of this provision to keep community leaders from being partisan in their discharge of their duties. It was meant to ensure that they remain neutral in any political struggle.
“As the saying goes: ‘What is good for the goose is good for the gander’. If community leaders are not allowed to be involved with opposition political parties, then on the same token, they are also not allowed to be involved with the ruling political parties. This is truly what we need from community leaders – politically neutral.”
On incidences where community leaders are also being castigated by YBs for being vocal in speaking out for his community, Paul said it is perfectly alright for a community leader to do that.
“That is his duty as a leader. That right to speak is even protected and enshrined under Article 14 of the Federal Constitution which provides for the right to speak. Therefore, any YBs who oppresses and suppresses community leaders from speaking is acting unconstitutionally.” – DayakDaily