Let the people pick their community leaders — Baru

Baru Bian

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 7: Ba’kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian proposed today that community leaders be elected by the people and then appointed by the government.

He said such posts used to be elected by the people and there was no duration limit as these community leaders were credible and respected people who had the confidence and trust of the people.

“We had suggested that ketua masyarakat (community leaders) be elected by the people and then appointed by the government. I hope the state government will consider this proposal.

“Although the Ordinance (Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004) made it clear that they were not to be politically involved, this rule was never enforced. The ketua masyarakat became political tools used by the ruling political parties to control the rural folk,” said Baru, who is also Works Minister, when debating on the State Budget 2019 here today.

He proposed that after the election of community leaders such as ketua kampung and longhouse headmen, these community leaders may then choose among themselves who should be the penghulus. The penghulus then choose the pemanca, and the pemancas elect the temenggong among themselves.

On the State Budget 2019 that was tabled on Monday (Nov 5), Baru said the budget, which is “a development-based budget focusing on rural areas”, was hailed as a historical and highest ever budget by his colleagues.

He expressed relief that, finally, there was an awakening that the Sarawak leaders finally realised and acknowledged the real situation of Sarawak and Sarawakians after 55 years.

“However, the irony of this situation is that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak politicians conveniently overlooked the fact that this is the legacy created by their own former best friends — Umno/BN, of which GPS had been part for 55 years. — DayakDaily