KUCHING, Dec 31 — Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah clarified today that the state government is paying the full salaries of community leaders.
He said it’s not true that the federal government is paying 70 per cent of the salaries of 589 community leaders, such as temenggong, pemanca and penghulu, as claimed by Works Minister Baru Bian recently.
Uggah confirmed that the federal government had channelled RM7.789 million but only as salaries for some 5,000 village headmen and longhouse chiefs.
“Baru’s statement was misleading because the truth is the salaries of the community leaders are paid fully by the state government,” Uggah explained.
“We need to make the clarification to avoid any confusion resulting from Baru’s statement,” he said.
He said the allocation was received early this month from the federal government to pay for the salaries of the village headmen and longhouse chiefs for October to December.
Uggah said the amount, however, is not enough to pay the salary of RM900 a month for each headmen and chief.
“The state government, therefore, has to top it up so that each headmen and chief will get RM900 as their salary,” he said.
Uggah recalled that after Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the federal government after winning the 14th general election on May 9 this year, it had written a letter to the state government that it had decided to discontinue paying the salaries of the headmen and chiefs.
“But Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg decided that the state government would take over the payment of the salaries,” he said.
Uggah said the federal Minister of Rural Development Datuk Seri Rina Harun had also expressed her agreement that the appointment of the village headmen and longhouse chiefs would be left to the state government.
“We have, so far, not received any new condition for their appointments as alleged by Baru that went viral on the social media,” he said.