Sarawak govt has the autonomy to appoint community leaders, says NGO

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

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KUCHING, Sept 16: Sarawak government has the autonomy to appoint state community leaders, and it should remain as it is, opines Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) president Datuk John Lau.

Responding to Federal Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government Sivarasa Rasiah who recently said they will appoint Sarawak community leaders, Lau disagreed, and asked the federal government to honor the Malaysia Agreement 1963 by treating Sarawak as equal partners as Malaya and Sabah.

“This is because Sarawak is a partner in Malaysia, not a state like the 11 states in West Malaysia. Appointment of community leaders in Sarawak should not be mixed with the appointment of community leaders in West Malaysia,” he said in a statement, today.

Sarawak can have only one set of community leaders which is the one appointed by the Sarawak government, he thus asked federal government to leave this matter to the state government.

“The demographics of Sarawak and Sabah are more complex than West Malaysia. Sarawak government knows the local scenario, which the West Malaysians don’t.

“Another example, Sarawak have 40 different natives languages and native laws plays an important role in the lives of the inhabitants and this is something West Malaysians don’t understand,” he explained.

If the federal government appoints its own community leaders in Sarawak, Lau questioned if there will be a conflict of interest because it means, one community will have a leader appointed by Sarawak Government and another appointed by the federal government.

“Has federal government consulted Sarawak Government before they made such decision?”

Having said this, Lau added that community leaders should attend competency skills training.

This he said, is to ensure that they know their roles, responsibilities and competent in discharging their duties.

“SPA recommends that federal government work with Sarawak Government to conduct community leaders competency training and abort the appointment of new set of community leaders,” Lau said. — DayakDaily