The Sarawak government is allocating an initial grant of RM30 million for the restructuring of the local councils’ administrative machinery with immediate effect, Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said today.
He said the state secretary had been asked to devise a new salary scheme, involving council secretaries and councillors, with a view to upgrade their status as well as provide better focus to the social and physical aspects in local government administration.
“Councillors will have better perks such as a daily allowance in place of their current allowance of RM50 per sitting,” he said when opening the Sarawak Local Authorities’ Councillors Seminar 2011, attended by 555 participants from two city councils, three municipal councils and 20 district councils.
Taib was optimistic that there would be a good and properly functioning team, especially at the district council level in the rural areas by 2013.
The local councils were also expected to receive an additional RM25 million development allocation to ensure the maintenance of public amenities including roads, drains, public toilets, parks, schools and clinics, in tip-top condition, he said.
Taib said such a grant would enable the local councils, especially those facing problems in rate collection, to generate income such as through the development of eco-tourism or other tourism-related activities run by them.
Last year, the local councils in Sarawak received federal development grants totalling RM23.2 million, besides an expenditure allocation of RM68.8 million from the state government.