KUCHING: The Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) signatories must not be from the same family to prevent abuse of minor rural project (MRP) funds, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.

He said he had instructed the District Office in Kapit to check the JKKK accounts in order to find out who the signatories were.

“It’s not a question of them taking the money for other purposes but the people of the longhouse are not aware when the money is being spent. 

“Thus, I think we should be transparent in the sense that the JKKK signatories who consist of the chairman, treasurer-general and the secretary must not be from the same family,” he said.

He told reporters this after presenting MRP cheques to phase four MRP recipients at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) here yesterday.

He added that it was of concern to the government,

For example, when he gave the MRP funds, some of the longhouses were not aware of the money coming in nor were they aware of the money going out.

“So, we found out that some of the JKKK signatories were members from the same family and that should not be allowed,” added Masing.

“We do not want the money to be misused or subjected to abuse by the JKKKs. At least by next year, we will ensure that the JKKK signatories will not belong to the same family.”

Asked how he found out about the matter, he said some residents of the longhouses had approached him to inquire about the MRP funds which had not been distributed to them.

“There are about 130 longhouses in my area (Baleh) and I allocate MRP funds to them fair and square regardless of their political affiliations.

“We give the money when the needs arise. That is all. That is the basis,” he said.

Masing explained that each elected representative was allocated with a RM10 million fund this year, consisting of RM4 million  MRP fund, RM5 million  Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) fund and an additional RM1 million annually to develop their areas.

Asked to comment on the RM100 million allocation for the JKKKs under the State 2020 Budget, the minister said the allocation was promised by the state government earlier for the use of JKKKs to manage their villages and longhouses.

A total of 105 recipients from all over the state received the MRP cheques totalling RM1.3 million at the event.

Also present were PRS Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan and PRS Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Brodie.