By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 6: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will not continue the payment of allowances and salaries of all village headmen and chieftains in Sarawak next year.
In revealing this, Minister of Works Baru Bian said that there will be no more such funds allocated when the Federal Village Community Management Council (MPKKPs) are established next year.
“I don’t think we will be doing that anymore next year, that’s what I understand,” he told a press conference at the media centre at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.
“But the federal government has allocated RM35 million for the payment of allowances for all ‘ketua kaum’ or community leaders this year. That has been approved and channeled (to the state government),” he added.
The PH federal government had continued with the practice by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government for Sarawak. Prior to the 14th General Election, the payments of salaries of community leaders were shared by both the federal and Sarawak governments.
After PH took over the federal government, the state government took up the responsibility of paying the full salaries of the community leaders.
Meanwhile, Baru who is also the Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said there was encouraging response to the setting up of MPKKPs in Sarawak.
“People on the ground are happy. You go down to ground and you see that they are so happy. They feel this is an alternative channel for them to hear what is happening at the federal level and what the federal government can offer them,” he said.
He stressed that the MPKKP is a channel to disseminate information as village chieftains and headmen were banned and ordered not to attend any functions organised by other parties except the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government.
“So to me, all this is for the benefit of the rakyat. And as long as the rakyat are properly informed through this channel, they will benefit and that’s how we look at the whole thing,” he added. — DayakDaily