21 of 27 Labuan village chiefs step down

LABUAN (Bernama) – Twenty-one of the 27 village heads of Labuan are resigning effective today, citing “too much politicking” in the appointment of people to the positions.

They have sent a signed letter dated January 29 to the chief executive officer of Labuan Corporation (LC), the local authority.

Labuan Village Heads Coordinator Committee Chairman Mazlan Mohd Din said a number of reasons prompted the village heads to resign, with the concern for villagers being the main factor.

“We have had a long thought and discussion among the village heads before making up our mind to step down,” he told Bernama yesterday.

He said a list of village heads that went viral after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) came to power had sparked speculation that new chiefs would be appointed in the 27 villages.

Mazlan said that despite the ‘duty suspension order’ issued soon after the 14th General Election last year, all the village heads continued to discharge their duties, as usual, after being advised to do so by LC and the Labuan MP pending new appointments.

“The appointment of the new chiefs has been delayed since the middle of last year, and all of us are in a quandary over our status but, because of the villagers’ various documentation issues, we willingly continued to help facilitate and resolve the villagers’ issues,” he said.

Mazlan said he hoped that the resignation of village heads would help speed up the appointment of new village chiefs, which has dragged on for the past seven months.

He said that with the absence of official village heads, issues such as certification for various documentation remained unattended and this gave hardship to the villagers.

The contracts of the 27 village heads officially expired yesterday.

A month before the new school term, many villagers and residents of housing estates faced the difficulty of getting the village head’s verification for school documentation.

Mazlan attributed the delay in finalising the appointment of village heads to disagreement over the nomination of some candidates, with certain villagers not agreeing with the proposed names.

He said there had been swapping of candidates at the last minute, adding to the delay in the appointments.

There has been a mixed reaction from the people in the 27 villages over the appointment of the village chiefs.

This has been attributed to a list of names, all new faces, that had gone viral on social media. Several of those on the list are below 40 and two of them are women.