Pay hike: Residents tell community leaders to step up

National 2 minutes, 9 seconds


GRASSROOTS leaders are now expected to be more active in visiting their residents to check on their welfare, following a pay raise for village chiefs and penghulus.

Pengiran Emran Pengiran Hj Martasad, a Kampung Rimba resident, said he rarely sees his village head.

“The village heads must visit people, they must speak to the residents and ask them questions to see if any improvements are needed,” he said in an interview.

The 57-year-old said residents would be more comfortable and confident to speak up if community leaders regularly visit or interact with them.

“Village heads must be proactive in speaking and building a relationship with the residents,” he added.

Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman last week announced a revised pay scale for community leaders.

A Grade I penghulu and village head can earn as much as $5,400 and $2,270 respectively. The new salary scheme took effect April 1, 2015.

Pg Emran said: “With the salary raise, they will have to be even more responsible and committed in improving and maintaining the villages.”

Communication among village heads and residents is crucial because the community leaders would be able to know the difficulties and issues facing the residents, he continued.

“Currently, Kg Rimba is in great shape, which is why I believe the penghulu and village head deserve this raise, but they must continue and ensure the village is constantly improving.”

Pg Emran opined that grassroots leaders should often review what needs to be developed and improved, such as roads, sewers and street lights.

Hj Abd Razak Hj Abd Rahman, a Kg Lambak Kanan resident, agreed with Pg Emran that visiting and discussing issues with residents would be the first step in improving villages.

The 60-year-old said communicating about issues can bring the community together. “Communicating and visiting the residents are important because the village head would be informed of any issues that might have troubled the residents.”

Hj Abd Razak said his village head is managing the village well, and that the pay hike could further motivate the community leader to perform his responsibilities.

“Sometimes, people don’t see the village chiefs’ work and their commitment, which is why they need to show that and be more active by visiting the areas and improve communication with the residents,” he added.

Mohd Amirul Hj Iskandar, 37, said village heads play a big role in bringing the community together.

“Grassroots leaders must step up to bring all residents together,” said the Kg Lambak Kiri resident.

The Brunei Times