Don't panic, Sarawak's rights not infringed, assistant minister told

Modified 20 Sep 2019, 9:59 am

Sarawak PKR state secretary Vernon Kedit has refuted claims that the Pakatan Harapan government is interfering in the appointment of community leaders in Sarawak.

It was reported earlier today that Sarawak's Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali had cautioned Putrajaya against "interfering" in Sarawak's affairs.

The "interference" also includes suggestions that the federal government would "help" select community leaders in the state.

However, Vernon said Putrajaya would not be appointing community leaders in Sarawak. 

Instead, the federal government would be appointing the chairperson for the Village Community Management Council (Mpkk), he said.

He agreed that the appointment for community leaders and ethnic leaders should definitely be under the jurisdiction of the state government.

"So, there is no need for Sharifah to complicate or confuse the situation or to panic," Vernon said in a statement today.

He explained that the federal government will only be appointing the Mpkk chairperson, which would be a Sarawakian.

"Their allowance will be paid directly by the federal government and Sharifah does not need to worry.

"There are no laws being broken, no rights being shunned and the integrity of Sarawak's rights will remain forevermore," Vernon said.

After 55 years under the BN administration, he said the communities in the interiors of Sarawak have been neglected and this is a positive move from the federal government to uplift the community.

"There is nothing inappropriate when the Harapan government places importance on Sarawakians.

"As usual, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government sees a noble effort from the federal government as a threat against the (ruling) regime which has oppressed the interior community for the past 55 years," he said.

Vernon said he understood Sharifah's concerns as he claimed BN had been using and controlling the community and ethnic leaders in conveying information and manipulating votes within the interiors.

With this new initiative from the federal government, he said it would allow the state government to have better management over the interior community.

"The Mpkk chairperson will be paid salaries from the federal government and this is a nightmare for the GPS government," he said.

As such, it is not unusual for them to panic about the interior community getting the development which has been denied to them for so long, he added.

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