PH govt to appoint village leaders in Sarawak by January

Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah says the appointment of community leaders has not turned out well for Sarawak.

KUCHING: The federal government is going ahead with the appointment of Village Community Management Councils (MPKK) in Sarawak despite resistance from the state government.

The MPKK was planned for implementation throughout the country last year by the Pakatan Harapan government but it has failed to take off in Sarawak.

Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah said yesterday the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was going ahead with the revamp of community management leaderships at the village level.

“We will be discussing more about the details and mechanics of the appointments (at the ministerial level) but, in principle, this is the situation,” he told reporters after the annual general assembly of Sarawak PKR divisions here yesterday.

He hoped everything would be in place by Jan 1.

The PH government had established the MPKK to replace the Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) in the country but Sarawak is still adopting the JKKK system, whereby all matters with regards to appointments and administration are under the state’s jurisdiction.

Sivarasa said although the PH government had agreed last year that the respective state governments would appoint their own community leaders, it had not turned out well for Sarawak.

He said he was made to understand that the Sarawak state secretary had issued an official memorandum instructing community leaders not to attend any event organised by PH leaders.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah explained that village community leaders were banned from attending events organised by PH leaders because federal agencies had stopped helping the state government.

He said that as a result, the salaries of the community leaders were being fully paid by the state government since May last year.

Last October, it was reported that Works Minister Baru Bian had said Putrajaya would stop paying 70% of the politically appointed community leaders’ salaries in Sarawak.

According to him, only community leaders who were democratically elected by their longhouse residents would receive funds from Putrajaya.