Chong questions if Malays from Peninsular Malaysia included in Interpretation (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Chong raising issues at second day of the DUN Sitting on Feb 15, 2022.

KUCHING, Feb 15: Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen would like to seek clarification whether the inclusion of Malays under the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 would also include those from Peninsular Malaysia.

He said this during his debate of the Bill during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

“Among the 31 races listed in this Amendment Bill, they are all to be considered indigenous and can only be found in Sarawak, except the Malay race, which can be found in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.


“I’m just seeking clarification whether the definition would include, inadvertently, the Malays from Peninsular Malaysia.”

According to the qualification aspect of the Schedule, a person is considered a native if they are a citizen and a natural-born child of a race indigenous to Sarawak.

“What qualifies as a race indigenous to Sarawak? The fact is that Malay is already presumed in the same section, a race indigenous to Sarawak by virtue of this Schedule.

“That was how I read the clause. The qualification part is about a person of a race indigenous to Sarawak, but the first part of the Schedule has already presumed Malay to be indigenous to Sarawak.

“So, would it be taken as a Malay from Peninsular Malaysia by virtue of the fact that he’s a Malay, a race indigenous to Sarawak?”

Therefore, he urged for a more thorough review as to not inadvertently admit those who are not Sarawakians to be natives of Sarawak.

Chong also forwarded what he has put forward in his notice of the proposed amendment to the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, earlier dismissed by DUN Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar.

The Bandar Kuching MP also questioned why third-generation Chinese or Indians, or other non-indigenous races, in Sarawak are not considered natives of Sarawak since they were born and raised in the State.

“I am a third-generation Chinese. I was born and raised here. Most third-generation Chinese and Indian are as native as anyone.

Chong then said he remembered the words of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, who reassured the Chinese in Sarawak that they were not ‘pendatang’ (immigrants).

“We are not ‘pendatang’. We were born in Sarawak. So our allegiance and loyalty are to Sarawak, no question about that.”

He also noted that Meradong assemblyman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing questioned his proposed amendment and cited the Chinese in China and Whites in Australia.

“These two countries are so far away with different local elements and circumstances. Why must Sarawak follow them? In these two countries, the natives belong to a minority group. If there are no special provisions to protect them, they or their cultures will run the risk of being ‘extinct’.

“If you look here, 70 per cent or more of the population are natives. So why do we want to divide Sarawakians into native and non-native? It divides the whole country while Sarawak is seen as exemplary racial harmony.

“I urge the Gabungan Parti Sarawak government not to brush aside such a suggestion for third- or fourth-generation non-native races to be considered as natives,” he said.

He also brought up a past issue of Middle Easterns given native status in the State. — DayakDaily