KUCHING, Oct 27: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan foresees more splits among the longhouse communities in Sarawak due to the ongoing dispute over the establishment of Federal Village Community Management Council (MPKKP).
Responding to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Baram chief Roland Engan’s recent arguments over the matter, Voon opined both Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) and MPKKP are unconstitutional under the Article 160 of Federal Constitution because the Federal Constitution is the supreme law in the land.
“Customs, usages and practices are recognised as law under the Constitution. Customs, usages and practices allowed natives to chose their own headmen and village committees since time immomorial. The Ordinan Ketua Kaum Dan Ketua Masyarakat 2004 could not be used to extinguish this custom, usage and practice to give the government of the day (the power) to chose headmen and village committees. It is a known fact that the government of the day clings to power by directly or indirectly appointing headmen and village committees to control the village people.
“In return, the headmen and village committees who are given allowances, have to swear allegiance not to their followers, but to the elected representatives and government of the day that appointed them. By the Ordinance, the villages lost their right to chose their own headmen and village committee,” according to Voon in a statement today.
He opined this had caused many longhouse communities to split and now there are hardly any longhouses of over 80-100 doors anymore and that such strategies to gain support and cling to power are now adopted or imported by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to control the rural people.
“The rural people are now at the mercy of both Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and PH governments. The village headmen and village committees that do not support the government will likely find themselves removed and replaced by new faces. Their villages may also not be given funds or facilities they asked for.
“Therefore, this system will keep the rural folks at the mercy of either GPS or PH governments. It is also for this reason rural areas are not developed because if they are found not supporting the government of the day, projects granted would be withdrawn or shifted away. Projects would only be restored if they support the government again,” Voon stressed, adding that it is foreseeable that there will be more splitting of longhouses. — DayakDaily