Ba’kelalan rep urges govt to cut red tape in application process to recognise native status

Baru Bian (file photo)

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KUCHING, Sept 20: Ba’kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian has expressed concerns that the application process for native status recognition, which involves submitting applications to the District Office and waiting for the State Secretary and a committee to consider them, may create bureaucratic problems and delays.

In a statement released today, Baru expressed his support for the enforcement of native status recognition. However, he also raised several concerns regarding this matter.

“I am glad that the date of enforcement has finally been decided upon and announced. However, my immediate response to the application process is that it may create other bureaucratic problems and financial burdens for the people who have waited so long for a solution.

“Making the applications at the District Office and then waiting for the State Secretary and his committee to consider the applications will inevitably lead to delays as the State Secretary will not always be around and besides, he has many other duties on his plate.

“The application should be dealt with at the District Level by the District Officer and/or the Sarawak Administrative Officer by furnishing valid documents to support such applications with minimal processing fee and to be approved forthwith with a Certificate of Status,” he said.

Baru asserted the application process for native status recognition should be made simple and easy, and the District Officer or Sarawak Administrative Officer are best placed to handle such applications.

“Giving them the decision-making powers would avoid unnecessary delay, and the added advantage is that they often have the local knowledge and connections to enable them to grant approvals speedily.

“The next question is the status of newborn babies. Do they need to make applications eventually too or is there a possibility that their status should be inserted in their birth certificate upon registration of their birth?

“I am sure the State government can make arrangements with the National Registration Department (JPN) on this matter for such persons from Sarawak.”

Additionally, the Ba’kelalan assemblyman pointed out that the RM100 fee is prohibitive, especially if there are multiple applications from one family, and it may prevent eligible Sarawakians from making the applications.

“A fee of RM10 should be sufficient, as the government does not want to be seen as making money from the people who need such a crucial right to be recognised by the State,” he remarked.

On Sept 19, it was reported that mixed-race Sarawakians may begin applying for recognition as natives from Nov 1, 2023 onwards.

This comes following the Sarawak government’s decision to enforce the Interpretation (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 to determine the native status of any person, effective Nov 1, 2023. — DayakDaily