Sarawak DCM warns Pakatan against two Dayak chiefs in single longhouse

Sulok Tawie
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah says having two chiefs in one longhouse has never happened before, September 18, 2019. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 18 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) proposal to appoint additional chiefs to Dayak longhouses that already have one would cause the community to break up, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah warned today.

He asserted that the proposal would lead to more divisions within the longhouses rather than promote unity.

“What we don’t want to happen is that there are two tuai rumahs (longhouse chiefs) in one longhouse.

“There will be chaos, having two chiefs in one longhouse has never happened before and we hope it will not happen,” he told reporters after handing over allocations to churches and other non-Islamic religious institutions here.

Uggah, who is also the state minister of agriculture, native land and regional development, was responding to a recent statement by Deputy Rural Development Minister Sivarasa Rasiah.

Sivarasa told reporters that the federal government was considering appointing new longhouse chiefs in Sarawak in addition to those named by the state government.

The deputy minister said this was prompted by the Sarawak government's move to bar community leaders and headmen from attending functions of federal ministers, which he said was unfair when Putrajaya was paying the group’s salaries.

Today, Uggah called Sivarasa ignorant about the pay of native community leaders such as penghulu, pemanca and temenggong, and the ketua kaum (headmen) such as longhouse chiefs, kapitans and village chiefs.

 The Sarawak DCM said the state government paid salaries to all categories of community leaders while Putrajaya only paid those of headmen.

“We pay RM400 and the federal government pays RM500 to each headman,” he said, adding that the entire RM900 was borne by the federal government previously.

Uggah said it was the PH administration that altered the arrangement, prompting the state government to respond by paying the difference in order to allow the headmen to keep earning the RM900 as before.

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