KUCHING: The Sarawak government has a Standard Operation Procedure to appoint the Ketua Kaum and Ketua Masyarakat, which has worked well for the people, particularly the rural communities.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said one of the basic criteria was the recommendation of a candidate from the people.
"We always listen to the people first before considering someone as a candidate," he said.
Therefore, to have two authorities appointing their preferred Ketua Kaum and Ketua Masyarakat will be very disruptive to the stability, harmony and solidarity entrenched among the more than 5,000 rural longhouses, villages and settlements in Sarawak.
"This has never happened before and I hope it will not happen soon," he said.
Uggah was responding to Deputy Rural Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah who suggested that the Pakatan Harapan government should also appoint community leaders in the state.
Such a statement, he said, reflected the ignorance of outsiders on the systems practised by the Sarawak government in appointing these grass-root leaders.
"He should have made an effort to understand our system which may be different from those practised in his own place before coming up with his statement," the Deputy Chief Minister said.
"On allegations that the state government rejected allocations from the PH government to pay the salaries of the Ketua Kaum, I wish to inform him this is a fallacy at its best," he said in a statement here.
When the PH took over Putrajaya, they had decreased the monthly allowance of each Tuai Rumah, Ketua Kampung and Kapitan to RM500 per person from the previous RM900.
Sarawak government, Uggah said, had then taken it upon itself to pay the RM400 extra.