KUCHING, Nov 11 — A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Youth leader has insisted that only people born in Sarawak and live in the state can be elected as a member of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) after a constitutional amendment was deferred in the august House yesterday.
“A YB ADUN Sarawak (state assemblyman) must be a Sarawakian who is born in Sarawak and residing in Sarawak,” Sarawak United People’s Party Youth secretary Milton Foo said when contacted on the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The Bill, tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, had sought to lower the age to qualify for election to the State Legislative Assembly and to define “resident in the state” in the Sarawak Constitution to be eligible for the state polls.
After the Bill was tabled and debated, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar ruled that the Bill be deferred as there were “anomalies” in its reference to the Immigration Act 1959 that needed to be clarified.
The amendment had sought to align the definition of ‘resident of the state’ in Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution with Section 71 of the Immigration Act, which further refers to Section 66 of the same act, that states that a person shall be treated as a resident of an East Malaysian state if he has within the preceding two years been a permanent resident.
Foo agreed that Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution currently lacked a clear definition of ‘resident of the state’ and he hoped that the Bill would be improved upon and re-tabled in the State Legislative Assembly to smooth this out.
“I am ready to condemn any act or attempt which tends to take away or erode the fundamental right of Sarawakians which shall not be compromised and condoned.
“For if a non-Sarawakian was allowed to contest in the state election and become Sarawak lawmakers, it entails not only a serious impact but also make the call for Sarawak autonomy advocated by former Chief Minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, which is now vehemently pursued by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, a redundancy and in vain,” he said.
Foo said he did not wish to see the day when a West Malaysian politician such as DAP leaders Lim Guan Eng or Lim Kit Siang contesting in the state election and elected members of Sarawak State Legislative Assembly just because they could fulfill the criteria of Section 71 of the Immigration Act.
Insisting that Sarawak is only for Sarawakians, Foo said: “Those who are not born in Sarawak but having the status of permanent resident should be only confined and allowed to enter and reside or live in Sarawak, but not to contest in the state election and be elected as ADUN Sarawak.”
“Furthermore, the amendment to the Sarawak Constitution is a matter which warrants serious thought with great circumspection as it touches the fundamental right and interest of each and every Sarawakian.
“We shall not let outsiders become the master of our beloved land, nor let them rule or control the people of Sarawak,” said Foo, who is a lawyer. — Borneo Post Online