KUCHING, Feb 20 — The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government should be clear about the conditions for mixed native children to qualify as ‘natives’, said Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (Dapsy).
The opposition youth movement said the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill 2020, which was passed in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) on Tuesday, fell short of addressing the issue.
“Instead of allowing such ambiguity, the GPS state government should be upfront and clear on what are the conditions for mixed native children to qualify as ‘natives’.
“This must be stated in unambiguous language because we have witnessed before how the current GPS government has previously allowed foreigners to achieve ‘native’ status just because of connections to the GPS leaders,” said Dapsy in a statement yesterday.
According to Dapsy, the passed Amendment Bill was to address the issue of children whose parents are native and non-native.
“Before this Bill, mixed native children have resorted to the Native Court for an application for ‘native’ status, and the process takes excruciatingly long before the applicant receives the verdict. The Bill seems to suggest that it will solve this issue.
“While the initiative of the Bill is highly appreciated, however, this native status is not unconditional. In other words, mixed native children will not automatically be a native,” pointed out Dapsy.
Dapsy quoted Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali during the Tuesday DUN sitting as saying: “Under this Bill, a child from a mixed marriage may be considered as a native even if only one of his or her parents is a native, subjected to the conditions and requirements to be imposed by the State Executive Council (MMKN).”
Despite so, Dapsy said the conditions and requirements remained unclear and undecided as of now since it will only be decided by MMKN after the Bill was passed.
The Interpretation (Amendment) Bill 2022 was unanimously passed at the DUN sitting on Tuesday, providing native status to children of mixed-marriage, of which one parent is a native.
“This amendment also included a new provision namely Section 63 which empowers the MMKN to amend the Schedule, considering the fluidity of this subject matter.
“MMKN can add to the Schedule. Hence once this Bill has been passed, MMKN has the power to amend the list in the future whenever necessary,” said Sharifah Hasidah.
She added: “I would like to once again reaffirm that this amendment is timely and necessary to give effect to the recent amendment to the Federal Constitution.”
Presently, natives listed in the Schedule are Bagatan, Bakong, Bemali, Berawan, Bidayuh or Land Dayak (including Salako, Rara, Jagoi, Singai, Biatah and Bukar-Sadong), Bisaya, Buket or Ukit, Dali, Dusun, Iban or Sea Dayak, Jatti Miriek, Kajang (including Sekapan, Kejaman, Lahanan, Punan, Tanjong and Kanowit), Kayan, Kedayan, Kelabit, Kenyah (including Badeng, Sebop and Seping), Lakiput, Lisum, Logat, Malay, Melanau, Murut or Lun Bawang, Narom, Penan, Sa’ban, Sihan, Tabun, Tagal, Tatau, Tring and Vaie. — Borneo Post