Full-time chairman planned for each district council

Penguang says a district officer now has a lot of responsibilities.

A proposal will be submitted to the state Cabinet to have all district councils in Sarawak helmed by a full-time chairman.

Sarawak Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil said the new proposal was aimed at ensuring that the people in those areas would be served more effectively.

“The chairman has always been the district officer who now has a lot of responsibilities and does not have the time to do what is required as far as the local authority is concerned,” he explained after chairing a dialogue with local authorities in the central region.

He added that as councils now had more challenges and responsibilities than before, a full-time chairman was needed.

Penguang cited Marudi district council as an example.

As the only district council in the state with a full-time chairman, he could see that it made a lot of difference in terms of service.

“He (the full-time chairman) has the commitment, the vision to see through what the council wants to do for the betterment of the people in the rural area,” he said.

Penguang added that he had spoken to Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on the revision of councillors’ allowance, including those of the chairmen and deputy chairmen.

“I do not want to reveal the increment on councillors’ allowance but it will be better than the present one,” he said.

“If the mayor is a politician, it would not be fair to the deputy chairman when he has to do more work and get half of what the mayor is getting.

“We propose the deputy be placed on Grade 48,” he said. — By ANDY CHUA

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