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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, April 9: The annual RM2.1 million federal government allocation for each of the 26 local councils in Sarawak is insufficient to meet the development needs of the people which they served.
As such, Assistant Minister for Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said these councils will have to make do with what they get.
“Normally the money is spent to improve public amenities in the respective councils such as improving drainage systems, roads, street lighting and waste management. But the state government will also channel funding amounting to RM10 million per five-year Malaysia Plan or RM2 million annually to all the councils,” Penguang told DayakDaily here today.
Out of the 26 local councils in Sarawak, three of them, namely Kuching North City Hall (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) are directly under the Chief Minister’s Department.
“And out of these 26 councils, four of them namely, MBKS, MPP (Padawan Municipal Council), SMC (Sibu Municipal Council) and Miri City Council are self-sustainable as they have enough revenues to fund their own projects,” he revealed, adding that these four councils earn their income from assessment rates and other services.
Recently, political secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Nor Hizwan Ahmad revealed in Sri Aman that the ministry will allocate RM2.1 million annually to all district councils throughout the country.
On a separate issue, Penguang who is also Marudi assemblyman is confident that Marudi will achieve division status in due time.
“By all means and criteria, Marudi should be elevated into a division. With an area as big as the whole state of Perak, we are only second to Kapit Division which is the about the size of Pahang,” he said, adding that if it is elevated into a division, it will have three districts consisting of Marudi, Telang Usan and Beluru with a total population of over 90,000 people.
Meanwhile, on politics, Penguang who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) vice-president voiced his objection with Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) for moving into PDP areas.
“I can’t understand why they continue to pick and choose Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) areas. To me, they are undermining the coalition as they will cause confusion and disunity among the people in the rural areas who are already politically fragmented.
“And if they claim that they are GPS-friendly and support the leadership of the Chief Minister, then they should stop doing this,” he said, referring to PSB’s recent function in Krian.
Penguang also revealed that PSB will be organizing a political rally in his constituency on April 27, at Rumah Joshua Dungkong Sg Malang, which is located next to his longhouse. — DayakDaily