Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting ready to pick village heads - The Star

May 22, 2008 By RASLAN BAHAROM

A RM200 monthly allowance may be a paltry sum for handling the welfare of over 5,000 families.

But pensioner Abu Bakar Abdullah does not see it that way.

“Money is not everything as I enjoy helping people,” said Abu Bakar.

Abu Bakar, 69, was among those who turned up at the village community hall on Tuesday to witness villagers registering as voters to enable aspirants like him to become village chiefs under a new move initiated by the Pakatan Rakyat-led Perak Government.

Abu Bakar was recently appointed acting Kampung Dato’ Haji Hashim village chief by local representatives of the new government, occupying one of 98 vacant village chief posts up for grabs in the Larut Matang district.

Larut Matang and Selama district officer Datuk Mahmod Morsidi, who is also the returning officer, said voting day would be determined later.

Mahmod said the voter registration exercise which began on Tuesday would be carried out in stages.

“Those who cannot make it can still register at the respective penghulu’s office before voting day which will be decided later,” said Mahmod.

Mahmod said villagers who failed to register could still exercise their voting rights on voting day itself.

He said those interested in being elected as village chiefs could get the nomination forms from his office.

Mahmod said those aged between 35 and 70 years were eligible to vie for the posts.

Villager Ng Hai Huy, 50, said she welcomed the new move to elect a village chiefs.

“Anyone can become a village chief now unlike in the past when a person whom we hardly knew was appointed to become our village chief,” said the mother of six grown-ups.

Ng, who has been living in Kampung Dato’ Haji Hashim formerly known as Kampung Batu 2 1/2 for the past 20 years, claimed she did not know who or where to find the previous village chief.

Another villager, Cik Siah Daud, 70, hoped with the election of the new village chiefs, the problem over the management of the village community hall could be sorted out.

Kampung Kota Barat MIC branch chairman T. Rajoo, 66, claimed that a kindergarten class convened at the village community hall had to move elsewhere due to uncertainty over the community hall’s management after the fall of the Barisan Nasional-led Perak Government following the March 8 elections.

However, former village develop-ment and security committee member Mohd Tahir Mat Yusof said the kindergarten class organised by Rajoo was not a government-organised activity.

“It is a privately-organised kindergarten and no one seems to want to bear the responsibility of settling the electricity bills of the community hall,” said Mohd Tahir.

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