Fatimah urges Putrajaya to issue clear ‘do’s and don’ts’ guidelines

Fatimah (fifth from left) and others performing the ‘ngiling tikai’ in relation to the Gawai celebration.

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KUCHING, June 29: Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah is concerned with a federal ministry’s “what not to do” directive if state ministers or ministries were invited to their events.

The directive includes such things as “do not invite the media” and “no speeches”.

But Fatimah said such incidents were expected because the federal and state governments were standing on opposite ends and there were no proper or clear guidelines from the federal government concerning the working relationship between them and opposition-ruled states, like Sarawak.

“After Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government, everything became confusing. It became a new situation and many federal department heads are not sure about what is allowed or what is not allowed.

“Because of the previous close working relationship between the two, and the need to maintain it, certain department heads have no choice but to play safe. So some of them will make their own interpretations (of the directive),” she said at the State Women and Family Department’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak celebration today.

Fatimah (in purple headscarf) cutting a ‘lemang’ in conjunction with the Hari Raya celebration as others look on.

Fatimah opined that the federal secretary ought to provide clear guidelines on cooperation, boundaries or even responsibilities between them and the opposition state.

“It is for the benefit of both sides … most importantly for the rakyat,” she pointed out.

She emphasised that this was an urgent matter because ministries like hers need close inter-agency working relationships.

For example, Fatimah said issues relating to natural disaster, the hard core poor, education, mentally ill people and teenage pregnancies could not be solved alone.

“My point here is that there are things that transcend politics. Working relationship between the two governments should not be politicised. Having said that, if there are clear guidelines on the ‘do’s and don’ts’, it will be easier and both sides can move forward.

“If we in the state are not allowed to do certain things or attend federal events, we will respect the decision. After all, we can always do it on our own, including giving our own assistance to Sarawakians,” she said. — DayakDaily