Abdul Karim: Term ‘Sarawakian’ contravenes the Federal Constitution

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Nov 30: The term ‘Sarawakian’ cannot be included in the amendment of the Sarawak Constitution as this contravenes the Federal Constitution.

Minster of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there was a discussion on this matter before the tabling of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020, but there is no use of such terms in the Federal Constitution.

“If you were to look at the Federal Constitution, words like Johorian, Sarawakian, Sabahan and so on are not mentioned.

“We have discussed about it before the tabling of the bill. The moment we put the term ‘Sarawakian’ in, I would say it might contravene the Federal Constitution.

“So, that is why we maintain it as ‘resident of the state’ because in the Federal Constitution, it is also ‘resident of the state’,” he told DayakDaily today.

Abdul Karim, who is also Asajaya assemblyman, was responding to a recent statement of Sarawak DAP chairman’s special assistant Michael Kong who pointed out Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) could have easily propose the use of ‘Sarawakian’ in the amendment of the Sarawak Constitution.

The bill was tabled in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting on Nov 12 to allow only Sarawakians or in legal term ‘resident in the state’ with Sarawak connections and ancestral roots to be elected as state representatives.

Kong said the state government should have proceed with using ‘Sarawakian’ because this would have made the criteria to be a state legislative assembly member solely for Sarawakians, which has a proper definition. — DayakDaily