KUCHING: Sarawak will not give up its right to administer local councils in the state as this is safeguarded in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Rejecting a proposal by the Federal Government to streamline local councils in the country, the Chief Minister said local government was one of Sarawak's constitutional rights.
"Under MA63, it is the right of Sarawak to administer local government. There was a suggestion that they want to streamline local government, but under the Constitution, they cannot do that because it is our autonomous power, just like immigration, " he told reporters after witnessing the swearing-in of 750 councillors for 24 local authorities here on Wednesday (July 31).
The councillors, who included 314 new faces, were appointed for the 2019-2021 term.
In his speech earlier, Abang Johari said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government would protect the councillors' rights as they were appointed by the state to administer their respective councils.
"No outsider can take away our right to local government. There are some people who try to take over some power in local government administration, but I say no.
"Sarawak is administered by Sarawak itself, " he said.
Abang Johari also called on the councillors to engage with the people and carry out policies in line with those of the state government.
He said the local authorities must work together with the state government to deliver development to the people.
"Councillors must do their part to implement policies and development projects, " he added.
He also announced a fixed allowance of RM300 a month for councillors, in addition to their allowance for attending meetings.
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