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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, May 4: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan is urging the Dayak community to challenge the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 in court.
Voon noted the ordinance has been used by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to appoint village headmen in all villages and communities in Sarawak.
With that, native chiefs and village headmen were given allowances by the GPS government and in return, gave support to them.
Hence, Voon believed the Dayak community should appoint their tuai rumah based on traditional customs and in the spirit of democracy.
“We need to remind ourselves before the passing of the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004, village headmen were all elected by villagers themselves or their position was hereditary.
“This was the custom of the community in appointment or selection of their headmen.
“Traditional custom is a recognised law protected by the Federal Constitution.
“Since it is protected by the Federal Constitution, the constitutionality of Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 is therefore in doubt.
“The appointment also goes against democracy and since we are practicing democracy, the GPS government is seen steering itself away from democracy.
“The process of appointment of village headmen is therefore not suitable to our community as it is against democracy and perhaps, unconstitutional,” he said in a press statement.
Thus, Voon called on the Dayak community to challenge the law in court.
Apart from that, he opined that the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 might cause disharmony amongst villagers in certain longhouses because there could be village headmen that villagers could not get along with. — DayakDaily