'Absurd for opposition-supporting longhouse chiefs to get salary'
Sarawak's Assistant Minister II of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Francis Harden told a gathering of Iban community leaders that it is "awkward and absurd" for longhouse chiefs who oppose the government to receive allowances or a salary.
"Village chiefs and community leaders must remember that it is the state government that pays their allowances and salaries," he said in a speech to Sri Aman Iban Community Leaders Association, as reported by the Borneo Post.
Harden (above) reminded village chiefs that the state government was never vindictive, but they should also realise that the opposition had proven to be unable in bringing in development and that to support them was to make a mistake.
He welcomed the election of new committee members of the association for the 2022-2023 term.
"I urge the newly-appointed committee members to reflect on their direction as tuai rumah (longhouse chieftains) who are responsible for taking care of their respective communities," he said.
Harden, who represents the ruling GPS coalition, is in his sixth term as Simanggang assemblyperson.
However, he was nearly unseated by PSB's Wilson Entabang in last month's state assembly elections, when he bagged 3,954 votes to pip Wilson by 175 votes.
In the recently concluded elections, GPS won a thumping victory with 76 out of 82 seats.
However, during the campaigning, election watchdog Bersih called out Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and other GPS leaders for using their position to campaign by announcing projects or allocations, officiating at government events, and signing state government memoranda of understanding (MOU) for projects.