KUCHING (Bernama): The Sarawak government is paying the monthly salaries of the ‘Ketua Masyarakat' community leaders such as ‘Temenggong', ‘Pemanca' and ‘Penghulu.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas dismissed as untrue a claim by Works Minister Baru Bian that the federal government is paying 70% of their salaries.
"We want to correct a social media report of a statement made by Works Minister Baru Bian on the above claim. His statement is misleading because the truth is the salaries of the Ketua Masyarakat are paid fully by the state government," he said in a statement on Monday (Dec 31).
Uggah said the state government had to make the clarification to avoid any confusion resulting from Baru's statement. Sarawak has 589 Ketua Masyarakat statewide.
On the ‘Ketua Kaum' community leaders, comprising the ‘Tuai Rumah', ‘Ketua Kampung' and ‘Kapitan Cina', Uggah said that when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the country's administration in May this year, it had written to inform the state that it could no longer pay their salaries.
"But, our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari (Tun Openg) decided for the state government to take over the payment.
"The state government had, on Dec 5, received an allocation of RM7.769mil from the federal government to pay their salaries from October to December this year at the rate of RM500 per person.
"Since the normal salary of our Ketua Kaum is RM900 per person, the state government has to top up the balance," he said.
Uggah said the Federal Minister of Rural Development Datuk Seri Rina Harun, too, had expressed her agreement that the appointment of the Ketua Kaum should be left to the state government.
"We have, so far, not received any new condition for their appointment as alleged by Baru and now viralled in social media," he said. - Bernama