Suspicious Sacking Of Bau-Lundu HeadmenThat is what the opposition claimed. Services of some headmen (the ketua kampung) were unceremoniously terminated and this lead the opposition to believe that those headmen were sacked because they supported the opposition in the last General Election.
In a related case, Peter Nansian, the Tasik Biru state representative has been told to apologise to the village chiefs recently stripped of their positions for calling them gila gila. I think Peter is being blunt as gila-gila doesn't mean those headmen were mad or crazy but senile. Yes, you don't want a senile man to have power on the community, right. In addition, there are headmen in Sarawak who are very old (and maybe senile) as well as uneducated.
So if the state government terminate (not sack) those headmen, it is only to make room for the younger blood with better eduction background.
Alleged sacking of headmen politicised
By Churchill Edward
KUCHING: The opposition is only trying to capitalise on the alleged termination of seven headmen in Bau-Lundu area because the state election is coming, said Mas Gading MP Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe.
He said the opposition should not be suspicious of the government on any appointment and/or termination of community leaders in Sarawak.
Bau and some parts of Lundu are under the politically-conscious Mas Gading parliamentary constituency.
Dr Tiki, also Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) vice president said the alleged termination of the seven headmen, if indeed true, was not politically-motivated.
“There must be other reasons why their services are terminated, if indeed true. It could not have been due to their affiliation with the opposition.
“People should not read into the matter too seriously because the government needs to review performance of each and every community leader from time to time or when their terms are about to expire. There should be no issue,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Although most headmen in Sarawak were elected by their respective charges, it was the government who paid them their fixed allowances and other incidental allowances relating to their work, he pointed out.
A recent government policy required dynamism to be injected into new crops of community leaders. Also, they must be literate as well as performance and result-oriented, he pointed out.
Dr Tiki also advised people not to listen to instigators or be hoodwinked by them because the consequential politicking would only hamper development in Mas Gading.
“Now is the time for people to support the government of the day so that further development could pour in. Politicking will only hamper progress,” he reasoned.
He said even though the alleged termination of the seven headmen might not be politically-motivated, there were always opposition members who would like to politicise the issue.
He said the government’s reminders, including a district council circular dated March 3 telling headmen not to support the opposition during the March 8 election campaign, was in fact a normal thing.
“Of course we have to remind our community leaders to remain steadfast and united during that time. We just could not be complacent,” he said.
On the same token, Dr Tiki said the four states - Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Penang – now controlled by Pakatan Rakyat had already replaced headmen appointed by the previous government in line with the policy of the ‘government of the day’.
Headmen received RM400 fixed monthly allowance each from the federal government, and topped up with RM50 from the state government.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development’s Institute for Rural Advancement (Infra) state assistant director Luke Pihee, said village headmen must not be employed, actively or formally by any agency, government department or established corporation or; being licence holders of business entity before they could be appointed.
“Other than that, they must have appropriate educational background and not be too old, like over 70 years old. They must have leadership quality, competent, mentally sound and are elected by the villagers,” said Luke, whose Sarawak office was set up only in February this year.
He said the headmen were later required to attend training and courses involving leadership, village action plan and development, management, village administration, village profile, basic accounting, entrepreneurship, rural development philosophy and/or mosque community management, and public speaking.
Luke said he only handled training, and not involved in administration, appointment and termination of headmen.
State Reform Party (Star) president Dr Patau Rubis was quoted by an Internet portal ‘Malaysiakini’ on Sept 10 that the services of seven headmen had been terminated by the government by virtue of a memorandum dated July 5, 2008 signed by Saradu Hoklai, director of Human Resource Unit in the State Secretariat.
The memorandum was addressed to the Kuching Resident and copies sent to the respective assemblyman as well as district offices.
Among other things, the memorandum requested for the services and allowances of these headmen to be terminated effective July 31, 2008.
In the article Dr Patau claimed to have linked the memorandum to the Bau District Council’s letter dated March 3, 2008 reminding headmen not to support the opposition.
He said he would be contacting the State Secretary and Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Sarawak on the issue following meetings with some of the headmen.
Tasik Biru assemblyman Peter Nansian also dismissed Dr Patau’s claim saying the alleged termination was not politically-motivated.
There could have been other reasons why their services were terminated, said Nansian, who is SPDP senior vice president.
State Secretary Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot later claimed that he was unaware of the situation and therefore he could not make any comment on the matter just yet.
From PartiStar Blog
Community leaders and STAR politics
To-day, three reporters contacted me, two on the surprised terminations of Services of seven Community leaders in Bau District, Sarawak and and the other on STAR politics.
About a week ago I heard grumblings about the sacking of seven Community leaders at the village level because of alleged political involvement amongst other things. Eventually one of them came to seek my advice for possible remedies showing me the warnings from the District Officer asking him “to stop campaigning for the Opposition” during the last Parliamentary Election as well as the Letter to terminate his services as a Community Leader or locally known as “KETUA MASYARAKAT”. He is disappointed because of the manner of his sacking.
Traditionally Community Leaders are elected by the Community themselves on one door-one vote basis. Amongst the Dayaks, this practice has been observed since time immemorial. They elect a new Leader only after the old one dies. This is the practice held and cherished amongst the Bidayuh community. Only now, it appears that politics is being introduced to interfere with the old practice apparently “to divide to rule”.
The need for cohesiveness and unity in a village is obvious. Imagine what would have happened if the current practice in place in the sixties, when the Communists were operating in the jungle. How many Community leaders and/or villages would be burnt in retaliation by both sides? However it is the closeness and cohesiveness of almost all the villages led by the mostly illiterate,poor but gentleman Community Leaders which spared the villages from harm. Even the Communists recognized the dangers of enforcing their will on these gentlemen.
Now BN Sarawak wants to enforce their will to ensure that they will control the Dayaks politics through fear as well by controlling the election process and giving them Terms and Conditions which ensure the Government power to terminate their services without giving any reasons thereto in their Appointment Letter. With such control over the selection and termination of Services of these Community Leaders, they hope to achieve total political control over the Dayaks Community.
In fact, in Tasik Biru, the current modus Operandi for BN campaign is to give campaign money to the Village Committee for Development and Security, which becomes their Campaign Committee. The Community Leader is also tied down to this and apparently in the Last Parliamentary Election the District Officer, who is supposed to be neutral by virtue of his Appointment as the Returning Officer for the Election Commission, is directly involved in the election process as evidence of his “warning letters” and eventual “sacking” of the “gentleman” Community Leaders . Even though BN won, they are still not happy at the apparent Independence of the Community Leaders.
Hopefully for the sack of unity and security of the kampong now and in the future, the State Secretary can review the individual need of a few local politicians and their need to win without properly servicing their constituencies but want to divide and rule with an “IRON CLAW”.
The Chief Minister should ask them to work harder instead getting the Community Leaders do the work for them. Enslaving them, without helping them to serve the people better than my time in power, will diminish and tarnish the “gentleman” reputation, which may be needed later on.
For the sack of the people, State and Country, the Community Leaders should be left alone to do the demanding job of looking after their poor constituents- help them …. NOT SACK them.------------------------
Tasik Biru state rep Peter Nansian has been told to apologise to the village chiefs recently stripped of their positions for calling them gila gila.
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