Community leaders’ appointment not by political patronage

Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew

KUCHING: The selection of community leaders must not be used for political mileage nor their appointment by political patronage, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan chairman Senator Robert Lau.

Instead, he said the paramount condition is that the best person is nominated to serve.

“The recent debate on the appointment of community leaders (ketua masyarakat and ketua kampung) for Sibu district has been inappropriately turned into a political point-scoring.

“What has been painted is a misleading picture of the process of the selection of community leaders,” he said on Sunday (June 6).

Lau explained that there is a selection committee that looks into the appointment of the community leaders in Sibu district and the five committee members comprise himself, Romeo Christopher and Nazatusyima Bujang of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Teo Boon Siew of Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Michael Tiang of SUPP.

He said in addition to those five members, the committee also included the Resident as the committee chairman as well as the District Officer.

“There is a guideline for the committee to follow. The three key criteria to be selected is that one must be below 70 years old (unless renewal), must be staying at the area concerned as well as must be proficient in either Bahasa Malaysia (BM) or English. The other point that was agreed by all was that the best candidate would get appointed,” he said.

On the selection of the community leaders, he said all candidates were then called up for an interview prior to the committee meeting in February this year by a panel from the District Office, and the findings were presented at the committee meeting and the last meeting was held on Feb 23, 2021.

“The final name list that was recommended by the committee consisted of nominees from various political parties.

“The committee was of the view that the community leader posts should not be used as incentive to recruit political members.

“After five hours of meeting, all those present signed off to confirm the name list except from PDP representatives despite the plea and explanation by other committee members.”

He said that the only community leader approved by the higher authority was the post of Pemanca that went to Datuk Jason Tai Hee, while the rest were still being put on hold.