KUCHING, Jan 26: Allowances paid to community leaders should not be used as a ransom to control them, says Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
In a press release today, he said the recent statement by Education, Innovation and Talent Development Assistant Minister II Datuk Francis Harden was not only against the spirit of democracy, but also an insult towards the important role of the community leaders who represent the interests and welfare of their people and who should not be beholden to any government or even political party.
Francis was recently quoted as saying it was absurd for community leaders and longhouse chiefs who receive allowances from the government to support the opposition.
“Sadly such toxic and oppressive political culture has been plaguing Sarawak all these years where the State government uses their position to instil fear and control over the people especially in the rural areas even when they (the rural folks) have been left behind all these years even in most basic of infrastructures.
“It is the democratic right of the rakyat to keep the government in check, including disagreeing with or not supporting the decisions made by the government of the day especially if it is bad or not beneficial for their people.
“Their (the community leaders’) salary should not be used as ransom to control them as such funds are derived from taxpayers funds, not money from any political party,” said Dr Yii in a statement today.
Dr Yii said the fact of the matter was that, equal allocation should be given to everyone regardless of if they did or did not support the government as funds and resources belong to the rakyat and are for the rakyat.
He believed that the people should not be punished for their voting choices.
“Such culture of ‘political vindictiveness’ must be changed if we want our country to develop and be a proper beacon of democracy.
“That is why I call upon the people to reject such ‘old politics’ and demand for reforms including equal allocations and more importantly, a proper election among the villagers for their tuai rumah (longhouse chiefs) and community leaders.
“When community leaders are politically appointed, politicians think they own them and this must change,” said Dr Yii. — DayakDaily