KUCHING, Oct 9: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Kota Samarahan communication chief Numpang Suntai has stepped forward to refute allegations that the setting up of Village Committee Management Council (MPKK) disregards local “adat”.
According to Numpang in a statement yesterday, party leaders Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian and Saratok MP Ali Biju have unequivocally stated clearly that the appointment of MPKK does not and has no intention to replace the existing Ketua Kampung or Tuai Rumah in the village.
He added that the two senior state PKR leaders had further disclosed that the setting up of MPKK was necessary to facilitate federal government initiatives and better communication about the various federal programmes that were beneficial for the people.
“This was especially so since the state government had earlier issued a directive to the existing Ketua Kampung/Tuai Rumah banning them from taking part in functions that were not sanctioned by the Sarawak GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government.
“Therefore, it is clear that the MPKK had to be initiated so that ordinary Sarawakians may benefit from the many programmes that were now available from the federal government’s vision for “shared prosperity,” he opined.
Numpang claimed that in fact, it is the state government which has disregarded local ‘adat’ in their appointment of village chiefs.
“The ‘adat’ (native customs) is very clear on the appointment of village shiefs. The village chief shall be elected by ‘anakbiaks’ (the people of the village).
“The state administration should respect that and it has no right to appoint anyone other than the chief elected by the village people. However, this is not being done and there are numerous examples of the state government having vetoed the popular choice of the villagers and made appointees that were expedient to their political interests.”
Numpang also claimed that this ‘unhealthy practice’ has led to the division and fragmentation of many longhouses/kampungs throughout Sarawak.
“They have also seen fit to enact the “Community Chief and Headmen Ordinance 2004”. The Ordinance deliberately takes away the people’s rights to elect their village chiefs,” he alleged.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah recently criticised the setting up of MPKK when he met community leaders in his constituency in Betong, describing the move by the PH government as a serious affront to the credibility of longhouse chiefs, ‘ketua kaum’ and kapitan.
According to Uggah, it showed that Democratic Action Party (DAP), PKR and PH parties leaders have no confidence in the ability of community leaders to serve though they were elected by their respective “anakbiaks” or followers. — DayakDaily