KUALA LUMPUR: Village development officers are appointed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry to help coordinate the development of 613 Chinese new villages in the country, says its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic).
"The ministry does not appoint local councillors but appoints village development officers for the purpose of coordinating matters with the respective heads of 613 Chinese new villages in the country," she said when answering a question raised by William Leong Jee Keen (PH-Selayang) at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Dec 7).
Leong had asked why the ministry was involved in the appointments of local councillors and heads of Chinese new villages when such powers fall within the jurisdiction of the state.
He also wanted to know why allocations for the new villages were not channelled directly to the village heads or local councillors.
Zuraida said that the development officers act as a go-between in coordinating applications for social development programmes or grants by the new villages with the ministry.
"You could say that the development officers play a role akin to the penghulu for traditional Malay villages where they help coordinate matters," she added.
She added that the village development officers would help in the application process for the new villages for allocations to develop infrastructure and home repairs, including special grants.
Zuraida also said that the officers will help residents in applying for personal loans with Bank Simpanan Nasional.
"Each village head is allocated RM100,000 to carry out infrastructure and repair work and the village development offices only help to coordinate the applications for these purposes," Zuraida said.
The government had allocated RM60mil for new villages, of which RM40mil is for infrastructure development, RM5mil for home upgrades with the remainder for loan schemes.