“Reject MPKK outright” – Iban & Malay community leaders

Datuk Pemanca Janggu Banyang.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Sept 23: Two community leaders today question the logic of the federal government to appoint Village Community Management Council (MPKK) officers in Sarawak as it will break the social fabric at the grassroots level.

Iban community leader Datuk Pemanca Janggu Banyang said the plan by the federal government to set up MPKK will definitely break up the community as the existing Village Development and Safety Committee (JKKK) has a long tradition since the time of the White Rajah.

“To appoint someone else to represent them (PH federal government) will definitely ‘break’ the longhouses. By doing so, it will bring troubles to the longhouses,” he warned today.

Janggu stressed that the way the federal government plan to implement MPKK is a political manoeuvring to win the next state election.

“We all know their intention of implementing the MPKK. But, by doing that they are against our adat. So my advice is this, if they win the next state election, then they can proceed with their plan. But for now, they must respect our autonomy and our adat,” he said.

Janggu, the son of the late Temenggong Dato Sri Banyang, asserted that the way the federal government tries to usurp power from the grassroots leaders should be rejected outrightly.

“You just imagine how a longhouse folk will react if someone just barge in and say he or she is the new leader for the longhouses. It will definitely create havoc and trouble. So, this idea should be rejected by all Sarawakians,” he said.

Janggu’s concerns are shared by a local Malay community leader Pemanca Rosli Sahari.

Pemanca Rosli Sahari.

He said the setup of JKKK was recommended by the federal government and was adapted by the State government though the Community Leaders Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004.

“Their intention to set up MPKK is definitely to confuse the rakyat. We, the community leaders at the grassroots level reject this plan as it is not conducive to promote unity among the people in the villages. On the other hand, it will only cause division and quarrels,” he opined.

Rosli, who is also the chairman of the Gabungan Penghulu/Ketua Masyarakat P194 Petrajaya (the Combined Community Leaders of P194 Petrajaya Organisation) which has 60 members comprising of penghulus and ketua kampung, covering Satok, Tupong and Semariang areas, said the Malay community, similar to other communities in Sarawak want the federal government to respect the local adat and not to implement the MPKK.

Both Janggu and Rosli were commenting on the announcement made by Deputy Rural Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah recently that the federal government will appoint their community leaders in the state.

Sivarasa said the idea was mooted after the federal cabinet decided to revamp and rebrand the JKKK to MPKK in June last year.

Recently, at the Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) opening dinner here (Sept 15), Sivarasa had said that the mechanics of the appointment of community leaders in Sarawak will be worked out by the ministry, and is expected to be revealed some time in January next year.

Since then, the proposal has been heavily criticised by Sarawak leaders. — DayakDaily