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KUCHING, Sept 16: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has strongly opposed to the plan of the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government to have two tuai rumahs (longhouse chiefs) to serve in one longhouse.
He said the present standard operating procedure (SOP) in electing the tuai rumahs has been in practice for years.
“Among the Dayak communities especially the Iban, the tuai rumah is elected by the respective residents of the community (longhouse). Upon being elected the government will endorse their election. Similarly, in an Orang Ulu community, there is also an election but governed by its social structure and norms.
“This SOP (Standard operating procedure) in electing tuai rumah has been in practice over the years! For PH Government to assume otherwise is a reflection of their ignorance of the social structure and culture of the people in Sarawak.
“We will never allow nor agree for PH government to have two tuai rumahs to administer one longhouse. Divide and Rule is not acceptable! Please don’t take us for a fool!,” Masing said in a statement issued here today.
Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister was responding to Deputy Rural Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah, who announced that the federal government will appoint their own tuai rumah or community leaders in the state.
Sivarasa said the idea was mooted after the federal cabinet decided to revamp and rebrand the Village Development and Safety Committee (JKKK) to Village Community Management Council (MPKK) in June last year.
At Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) opening dinner here last night (Sept 15), Sivarasa had said that the mechanics of the appointment of tuai rumah and community leaders in Sarawak will be worked out by the ministry, and is expected to be revealed some time in January next year.
Meanwhile, regarding the emergence of gutter politics as mentioned by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Deputy President Datuk Seri Azmin Ali at the same function last night, Masing said such an issue was something new in Sarawak.
“Sarawak doesn’t condone gutter politics in our state. We will exercise our immigration autonomy if anybody tries to bring it (gutter politics) in to gain political position. I believe, gutter politics made it appearance in 1990s when (PKR president Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) was jailed for alleged sex scandal.
“The practice is being carried out till today. I hoped the alleged participants have the books thrown at them, and those who tried to tarnish the image of their political rivals are caught and penalised. This country have enough such leaders,” said Masing. — DayakDaily