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By Karen Bong
SIBU, Oct 22: Sarawak is unique as it is the only state in the country which has the community leaders hierarchy system starting from Temenggong all the way down to Ketua Kampung (village chief).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg thus emphasised that this system, which has been inherited since the Brooke era, must be retained as it has played its part in community-building in Sarawak.
“Under the state government administration, since the Rajah Brooke’s time, we have systems for government officers, Bumiputera affairs and community leaders.
“No other states (in Malaysia) have Temenggong other than Sarawak. We also have Pemanca, Penghulu and Tuai Rumah, which the system of administration has been maintained since the Rajah (Brooke)’s time.
“Our unique culture must be safeguarded. We develop Sarawak using our own mould, don’t follow others’ mould,” he told the attendees at the ‘Leaders with People’ dinner here last night (Oct 21).
Abang Johari pointed out that community leaders help to facilitate communication between the government and the people in the communities.
“They are respected by the community and they have also become the frontliners for the government in advising people about state policies.
“This is the concept of our administration in Sarawak. So when the former government (Pakatan Harapan) wanted to introduce MPKK (Village Community Management Council), we rejected it because Sarawak has its unique administration and only Sarawakians know how to administer Sarawak,” he said.
As such, Abang Johari urged community leaders to carry out their duties and responsibilities well according to traditions and customs of Sarawak in order to preserve the peace, harmony and unity of this land.
“So I want to advise community leaders to disseminate information and especially policies of the state government to the people. Tell people in your community, your children and villagers,” he said, urging them to disseminate information about the benefits rolled out by the government to better care for the welfare of the people.
Sarawak, he emphasised, was also the only state to give a RM1,000 incentive to newborn babies, besides RM3,000 funeral expenses for the underprivileged and RM450 post-natal-care assistance for mothers.
“We are fair to all the people regardless of race or religion or even if they are members of the opposition parties. So tell your communities about what the government has done,” he urged.
He reiterated that Sarawak aspires to be a developed state by 2030 with the digital economy in place, continuous improvement on infrastructure and schools as well as efforts to enhance the welfare of the people.
At the gathering, Abang Johari also presented certificates of appointment to 242 community leaders from Sibu, Sarikei and Mukah divisions.
Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan as well as Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapee were among those present. — DayakDaily