GPS lambasted for move to stop community leaders from attending federal ministers’ functions

Sulok Tawie
Lusoi labelled the GPS government 'childish' in issuing the memorandum. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Oct 18 — The state ruling Parti Gabungan Sarawak (GPS) has been criticised for issuing an official memorandum ordering community leaders to only attend functions organised by the state government.

Civil movement Dayak National Congress (DNC) president Paul Raja said he cannot understand the rationale of the issuing such a memorandum banning community leaders from attending functions organised by Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal ministers and Members of Parliament.

"The state government must explain why community leaders are only allowed to attend functions by the state ministers only, but not the federal ministers," he said.

Raja was responding to the issuance of the memorandum by State Secretary Tan Sri Morshidi Ghani.

He said the rural communities will lose out if they are banned from attending PH ministers' programmes.

"It is during these occasions that the community leaders submit requests for development projects to the federal ministers and PH MPs.

"It is also during such occasions that the federal ministers interact with the rural communities and listen to their grouses," he said.

Raja said by issuing such a memorandum, the state ruling coalition appears as if it’s insecure of its position.

The memorandum, dated October 11, was issued to all Residents' Offices of Sarawak's 12 administrative divisions.

It said the state government has decided that community leaders and headmen are not allowed to participate in or attend gatherings or programmes not organised by the state government and any doubts should be referred to the Residents' Office or the State Secretary's Office for clarification.

The memorandum has been circulated on social media.

Assistant Minister of Local Government Datuk Dr Pengguang Manggil, when contacted by Malay Mail, confirmed the authenticity of the memorandum, saying that it was issued as directed by the state Cabinet.

Deputy Chief Ministers Tan Sri Dr James Masing and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah did not reply to messages asking them to respond to the memorandum.

Separately, in a Facebook posting, PKR's Puncak Borneo Member of Parliament Willie Mongin said he wanted GPS state assemblymen Miro Saymour Simuh, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil and  Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn to enlighten him on the memorandum.

"I just need enlightenment as I could not reach the State Secretary's Office just now for clarification," he said.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDSB) president Cobbold John Lusoi told Malay Mail the GPS government is childish in issuing the memorandum.

He said the state ministers, including Chief Minister Datuk Patinngi Abang Johari Openg, have paid courtesy calls to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik for more development to be allocated to Sarawak.

"But why is the state government stopping community leaders from meeting the PH ministers who are on official duties in Sarawak?" he asked.

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