2 AUGUST 2016
I have received numerous calls expressing concern that the recent appointments of community chiefs and headmen have been of individuals who are chosen because of their affiliation with BN component parties. Many of these appointees do not have the standing in the community, which is essential for those who hold this position. Many do not have the respect and support of their local communities that they are expected to represent.
The appointment of community chiefs must not be politically motivated. They are meant to be the representatives of the people, and therefore it should be logical that community chiefs should be those who command the respect and the trust of the people. To choose someone because of his or her support for the BN parties is contrary to the spirit and the intent of the office which is held by community chiefs.
This is consistent with the Community Chiefs and Headmen Ordinance 2004 which states in s 8 (1)(a) that a Chief or headman is prohibited from holding any post in a political party. This provision is to maintain the harmonious relationship and peace in the community as there is no point having a chief or headman who does not have the respect of the people, and whose appointment will create division among the community.
The people want to have a say in the appointment of their representatives. They should be allowed to elect the representatives of their choice, subject to the usual medical and security checks. Community leaders were traditionally elected by their own people based on their credibility, honesty, ability to lead, and their knowledge of the culture and adat of their community, to speak and act in the best interests of the people they represented. The interest of the people should be paramount, and not the interest of political parties.
Chairman, PKR Sarawak