LABUAN: Twenty one of the 27 village heads here have stepped down effective February 1, citing ‘too much politicking’ in their appointments as the main factor.
A letter signed by the 21 village heads dated Jan 29 has been sent to chief executive officer of Labuan Corporation (LC), being a local authority of the duty-free-island here.
Labuan village head coordinator committee chairman, Mazlan Mohd Din said a number of reasons prompted the village heads to resign, with the villagers’ interest being at heart.
“We have had a long thought and discussion among the village heads before making up our minds to step down, this merely in the interest of the villagers,” he said at a press conference at Melati Hotel Thursday.
He said the new list of village heads (following the taking over of Pakatan Harapan (PH) government) had gone viral and sparked speculation over the new chiefs to lead the 27 villages on the island.
Mazlan said despite the ‘suspension of duty order’ issued soon after the 14th general election last year, all the village heads continued to discharge their duties as usual, after being told by LC and Labuan Member of Parliament to do so, pending the new appointment of PH new village chief.
“The new chief appointment had been delayed since middle of last year, and all of us were in quandary over our status but because of the villagers’ various documentation issues, we willingly continue to help facilitate and resolve the villagers’ issues,” he said.
Mazlan hoped the resignation of village heads would help speed up the appointment of new village chiefs, which has been dragged on for the past seven months.
He said the absence of official village heads, issues such as certification for various documentations remains unattended and this gives hardship to the villagers
The contracts of the 27 village heads officially expired on Dec 31, 2019.
A month before the new school term, many villagers, including residents in the housing estates, faced the difficulty of getting the village head’s verification for the school documentation.
Mazlan said the delay in finalising the village head appointments was due to disagreement among PH component parties over some of the nominated candidates, with certain villages not agreeing with the proposed names.
He added there has been swapping of candidates at the last minute, resulting in the delay in the appointments.
Mixed reaction has emerged from the people in the 27 villages on this island over the appointment of the village chiefs.
This is attributed to a list of names, all of whom are new faces, that has gone viral on social media. Several of those on the list are below 40 and two of them are women.
Many villagers have posted comments on Facebook, claiming some of the candidates have no track record and rapport with the villagers and may have difficulty discharging their duties accordingly.