Appointment of community leaders is our right, says Sarawak

Sarawak Assistant Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

KUCHING: Putrajaya should not interfere in the appointment of community leaders in Sarawak, Assistant Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said today.

She described Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah’s recent statement saying that the federal government would go ahead with the appointment of village community management councils (MPKK) in Sarawak as “inappropriate”.

Sivarasa had said they were going ahead with the appointments despite resistance from the Sarawak government.

He said the plan to set up the councils failed to take off in Sarawak last year.

The federal government, he said, would appoint its own community leaders but would not replace the ones appointed by the state government under the Community Chief and Head Ordinance 2004.

The councils appointed by Putrajaya would help to empower the administration at the village level, besides making sure the federal government’s programmes are enjoyed by all Sarawakians at the grassroots level.

Sharifah said the state had passed the Community Chief and Head Ordinance 2004.

“It is clear that the state has the power and prerogative to appoint its own community leaders.

“I don’t want to speculate on his (Sivarasa’s) intention but the truth of the matter is the power lies with the state.

“We have our own ordinances and law.

“Even if there is no law, anything that has to do about Sarawak must go through the state government,” she said.