MARUDI: The onus falls upon local community leaders to uphold and respect administrative rules and protocols, at both Sarawak and federal levels.
Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said this in reference to a photo-set displayed at one of the longhouses at Sungai Nakat in Bukit Song, which he noticed during a ‘ngiling bidai’ (closing of Gawai Dayak celebrations) event at Rumah James Ugil there recently.
Previously, Wilson Juna – the chieftain of a longhouse next to Rumah James – hung a photo of himself at the main area of his longhouse, and this photo was placed between those of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However upon the announcement of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chairman Baru Bian’s appointment as the federal Works Minister, Wilson replaced his photo with that of Baru.
Moreover, Wilson had also named himself as ‘PKR’s longhouse chief’.
“As community leaders and longhouse headmen, you should know your own tasks and responsibilities – you ought to know the protocols. If there is any doubt, always refer to the rightful authorities such as the local councils or the Resident’s Office.
“You must know your own position as grassroots leaders – the bridge between the people and the government,” he said.
On Wilson’s action, Penguang – also Marudi assemblyman – said this indicated that the longhouse chieftain had placed himself and Baru Bian above the Agong and the Prime Minister.
“This is something that you simply cannot do.”
Penguang also reminded all that the appointment of community leaders, including longhouse chieftains, is not under the purview of anyone or any party, other than the Sarawak government led by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“The Sarawak government does not simply appoint grassroots leaders — we always look for the most favourable individual to lead a longhouse to ensure that the residents would not in a divided community,” he said.
Penguang also assured his constituents that the Sarawak government is working well alongside the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government, focusing on the well-being of the people and national development.
Nevertheless, he also reminded them against being easily influenced by outsiders.
“Take care of our rights and privileges as citizens of the state (Sarawak). Do not be distracted by the negativity brought about by outsiders, as this could be used by them to rule over us.
“Stay united,” he added.
Later, Penguang presented minor rural project (MRP) allocations of RM20,000 to SMK Tinjar parent-teacher association (PTA), RM20, 000 to Long Sepilling village security and development committee (JKKK), RM5, 000 to Miri Resident’s Office, and RM12,500 to the women’s bureau of Rumah James Ugil.
He also presented RM30,000 in MRP funds to JKKK Rumah James Ugil for the construction of the committee’s operations room.
Present were TR James Ugil, a political secretary to the chief minister Alexander Asing, Marudi District Council chairman Edward Mendai, acting Beluru District Officer SAO Marliney Igil, Pemanca Enggah Nuga as well as members of Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) from Suai, Subis, Miri, Telang Usan, Kuching and Marudi.
Penguang cuts a ‘branch’ off the ‘ranyai’ tree as part of the rituals observed during a Gawai Dayak celebration.