By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 6: Village security and development committee (JKKK) signatories must not be from one family to prevent the abuse of minor rural project (MPR) funds, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
As such, he has instructed the district office in Kapit to monitor JKKKs and their signatories especially those in his Baleh constituency.
“It is of concern to the (Sarawak) government because when I give the MPR funds, some of the longhouses are not aware of the money coming in nor are they aware of the money going out. So, we found out that some of the JKKKs’ signatories are from the same family. That should not be allowed. I have instructed the (Kapit) district office to check the JKKK account in order to find out their signatories.
“It’s not the question of them taking the money but the longhouse folk are not aware of money being spent. I think we should be transparent in the sense that the JKKK signatories should consist of the chairman, treasurer and the secretary and must not be from the same family,” Masing told the media after presenting MRP funds to 56 organisations, including JKKKs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex here today.
Masing, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister said he discovered this when some longhouse residents queried him him about when MPR funds would be allocated to them.
“There are 130 longhouses in my ‘kawasan’ (area). And every longhouse is given MRP funds regardless of their political affiliations. I didn’t ask for their political stand. We try to avoid that to prevent the abuse of funds, not so much the money getting lost but more so to ensure that it (distribution) is transparent,” he said.
To avoid abuse of funds, he suggested the JKKKs organise meetings on how to utilise their funds.
“We give the money when the needs arise, that’s all. That is the basis,” he stressed.
At the function, Masing presented cheques to representatives from 56 out of the 105 eligible organisations with a total of RM1.3 million. The remaining 49 organisations will receive their funds in Kapit soon.
Masing said each elected representative is allocated with RM 8 mil annually grant, consisting of RM4 mil of MRP; RM5 mil of rural transformation programme (RTP) fund and an additional RM1 mil annually to develop their areas.
Meanwhile, commenting on the RM100 million allocation for JKKKs under the 2020 Budget, Masing said the money would be used by the JKKKs to manage their villages and longhouses.
On Federal Village Community Management Councils (MPKKPs), Masing said MPKKPs are purely political appointments to create division in villages and longhouses.
“Effectively you are asking for two ‘tuai rumah’ in one longhouse. That is not very healthy. That will lead to disunity in the longhouse. And here again you entice them with money. I think no government will allow disunity within a longhouse,” he said.
Masing argued that unlike JKKK members which are elected by the people, MPKKP members are political appointees, which he considered an unhealthy practice.
“You cannot allow two heads in one longhouse. By doing that, you are deliberately splitting the longhouse. That is not the purpose of any government whether in Malaysia or anywhere else. You are in the government not to disunite but to bring them together,” he stressed. — DayakDaily