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Apologise to Sabahans for inconveniences caused

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 2, 2019 :  

The Parti Warisan-led State government owes Sabahans an apology for leaving them without village chiefs for months, forcing them to endure untold inconveniences.

Parti Bersatu Sabah Information Chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said it was unbecoming of the new government to abruptly dismiss the existing village chiefs and conveniently cite “technical problem” for the long delay to appoint new ones.

“Using ‘technical problem’ as an excuse does not make sense. Why not retain the existing village heads until the so-called technical problems are ironed and new appointments made?” the Kiulu Assemblyman asked.

It is learnt that the services of all village chiefs in the State were terminated effective Sept.1 last year.

He said it was no surprise the delay had given rise to suspicions and allegations among the public that the months without village heads were misused by illegal immigrants to apply for identification documents.

“It cannot be ruled out that some illegal immigrants could have taken advantage of the absence of village heads who are suppose to certify their status and application to obtain documents,” he said.

Joniston was responding to the statement by Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedik who cited technical problem related to the screening proces of potential candidates for the delay in the appointment of new village heads and that it was not to create an opportunity for illegal immigrants to obtain identity documents.

“Imagine the inconveniences faced by the people in dealing with issues related to native customs, land issues, engagement and marriage or to get verification and certification for their children's documents to enter school because of the absence of village chiefs at their disposal.

He said taking six months to appoint new village chiefs is a long time, adding that it reflected the government's inefficiency.

“If managing basic administrative matter at the village level is already haywire, what more to run the state.”

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