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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 18: It is only right and fair that the state government bars community leaders from attending Pakatan Harapan (PH) government functions as their salaries are paid by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, opined Kuching Division Bidayuh community leader Temenggong Austin Dimin.
“In Sarawak, the community leaders are considered as part of the civil servants. Their salaries are paid by the GPS state government, so we have to abide by the directive,” Austin told DayakDaily today.
He reiterated that the directive had made their job scope easier as they were now no longer required to attend functions organised by PH leaders.
“To me, this directive is fair so that we don’t have to worry whether we have to attend PH leaders’ functions even though they represent the federal government. This directive makes it known that we have been appointed and paid by the state government to serve our people,” he said.
Kapit Chinese Temenggong Tan Kian Hoo said community leaders in Kapit Division would have no problem abiding with the directive as there was no PH MP or PH assemblyman in Kapit.
“For us here in Kapit, we have no problem as we have been following the functions of our two MPs, namely Datuk Wilson Ugak (Hulu Rajang) and Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (Kapit) and a few other GPS assemblymen, namely Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing (Baleh), Datuk Liwan Lagang (Belaga), Jefferson Jamit (Bukit Goram) and Wilson Nyabong (Pelagus).
Temenggong Ajang Sirek, the Orang Ulu paramount chief of Kapit Division, said he had yet to receive the circular with the said directive.
They were commenting on a memorandum dated Oct 11 that was signed by State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani. The memorandum stated that community leaders are barred from attending any other programme apart from those organised by the state government and approved bodies.
In the official memorandum, no reasons were stated, except to say that the directive takes immediate effect.
However, in the three-paragraph circular, community leaders were advised to seek clarification from either the Resident Office or from the State Secretary’s Office.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Masing said the decision was taken by the state government because the PH federal government had ceased paying the salaries of these community leaders since they took over power from the Barisan Nasional (BN) on May 9.
“The salaries of these community leaders, especially village chiefs, had been paid by the BN federal government all this while. But when PH took over, they stopped channelling the funds to pay their salaries. This is where we took over their (PH) role to pay their salaries.
“So, to me, this is just being fair,” added Masing. — DayakDaily