Onus on local leaders to keep villages safe

Gerald Rentap Jabu

KUCHING: The responsibility of keeping longhouses, villages and their dwellers safe is in the hands of the village chiefs and longhouse heads.

Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu said for the local leaders, the safety and the interest of the dwellers must be prioritised.

“This includes enforcing the movement control order (MCO), practising the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid out by the authorities as well as recording the entry of outsiders,” he said when contacted today.

Rentap said village chiefs and longhouse heads are the frontliners in rural areas with them being the chairman of the local village safety and development committees (JKKKs).

“This JKKK institution has been long been in existence and has shown to be effective,” he said, adding that for Layar, various courses and seminars have been organised for village chiefs and community leaders on community policing.

“Through this, we have given them exposure on the importance of their role and responsibilities for the community,” he said.

He was responding to a call made by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas that local leaders can disallow entry to their villages.

Rentap said to curb the spread of Covid-19, all Sarawakians, rural folks included, must play their roles to the fullest.

“We must adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and take care of our safety and health of ourselves, our family, neighbours and community,” he said.

Last week, Uggah had said village heads are also empowered to make police reports if they are aware of the presence of illegal migrants in their area.

He also urged village chiefs to advise locals to report themselves to the health authorities if they are exhibiting symptoms related to Covid-19.