‘It is an abuse of power to ban community leaders from attending federal functions’

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, Oct 23: Special officer to the federal Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Voon Shiak Ni says the state government should not ban village chiefs and community leaders from attending federal government functions.

“This is not a right but an abuse of power,” she said.

Voon was responding to the recent statement by Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin that the state government has the right to bar community leaders from attending functions organised by the federal government because the appointment of community leaders and village chiefs falls under the state’s jurisdiction .

She said by imposing such a ban does not serve the community at large.

“What are the reasonable grounds for banning them from attending federal government functions? What can be achieved by banning them from being in contact with their Federal Ministers and being informed and updated on policies and plans of the government?” she questioned.

Voon opined that if the state government cannot have a good reason for banning them then the directive to stop them is only politically motivated to serve the political interest of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and their political masters.

She elaborated that the directive to stop them from participating in the federal government projects is indeed unconstitutional as mentioned by state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief and Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen.

“I also wish to remind Lee not to mislead the people about the funds for the village chiefs which was earlier mentioned by our State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Chief and Minister of Work Baru Bian that the federal government had allocated RM35 million to pay the allowances of community heads next year.

“Baru had also said that it is pertinent for various federal government agencies, officers, and political leaders to meet with the community leaders to discuss various matters pertaining to the development and welfare of the people,” she added.

Voon urged the GPS state government to act for the people’s welfare and rights and not for their own political agenda. — DayakDaily