Children of mixed marriages can now be ‘natives’ following amendment to Constitution

Amended Federal Constitution 161A after the passing of Parliament on Dec 14, 2021.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 15: Children of mixed marriages can now be “natives” as long as one of their parents is a Sarawak native following the passing of the amendment to Article 161A of the Federal Constitution in Parliament yesterday.

This has been a long-awaiting amendment for Sarawakian natives whose spouses are foreigners or non-Bumiputera.


This was explained by de Factor Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on Dec 15 before the passing the amendment.

At an event where he met Sarawak media at a local hotel in Kuching, Wan Junaidi said once the amendment was passed, it meant Sarawak and Sabah regain the power to define the meaning of “natives” while at the same time, it would enable children of mixed marriages to be defined as “natives” as long as one of their parents is a native from Sarawak.

Article 161A of the Federal Constitution before it was amended in Parliament on Dec 14.

He said that over 35 per cent of Sarawakian children are born of mixed marriages between Sarawakian Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras and according to the Federal Constitution before the amendment, they were not considered as Bumiputeras or natives.

One of the many reasons, he said, was because that particular individual may belong to one of the ethnic groups which are not listed in the definition of ‘natives’ in the Federal Constitution.

Wan Junaidi, whose wife is Chinese, also shared that his child was not considered native based on the definition, unless a request for native status is made to the Native Court.

“There are thousands of requests now pending a decision. We want to do away with that, so we will give the power to Sarawak to decide on the issue,” he added. — DayakDaily