Chong: Why reluctant to include ‘Sarawakian’ in State Constitution?

Chong showing the documents on the amendment proposed by the opposition during a press conference.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 12: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen is questioning why the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is so reluctant to put the word “Sarawakian” in the Sarawak Constitution.

“Why so shy of using the word Sarawakian in the Constitution when every day, they talk about fighting Sarawakian rights, protecting Sarawakians, (and) yet refused to put the word Sarawakian in the Constitution amendment.


“I just don’t understand. My question to the whole cabinet, is there a hidden agenda? ‘Ada udang disebalik batu’ for refusing to put the word Sarawakian as a qualifying criterion for a person to contest in the DUN Sarawak?,” he asked during a press conference at the Media Room of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

On the passing of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Chong was very sad that the opposition’s proposal to amend the amendment in the Bill by substituting the words “was also born in the state” to “a Sarawakian” was rejected.

He elaborated that they can immediately foresee the loopholes in the amendment Bill in which the second or third generation of children with non-Sarawakian parents could be eligible to be elected as a member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN).

“We have thousands of West Malaysians working in the federal government (based in Sarawak). Police, teachers, army, ustaz are here working in Sarawak.

“Some of them come here with their spouse, they produced lah. So all the kids produced in Sarawak and children of their kids would potentially be eligible to be elected as a member of this House in the future,” he explained on the wide-ranging effect of the amendment Bill passed.

Referring to such a scenario which he claimed did happen, Chong stressed the reason the opposition proposed the amendment for “one of his parents born in Sarawak” to “one of his parents is a Sarawakian”.

He again echoed Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian’s point in the House this morning that a person’s place of birth does not determine whether a person belongs to the state or otherwise.

On his motion to seek amendment of the amendment Bill which was rejected by DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar under Standing Order 23 which provides that it should be done by a minister, Chong said: “So obviously the Speaker is very confused man today. It is a confusing day, so he made a confusing ruling.”

He also pointed out that the proceeding to pass the Constitutional amendment was “very wrong and out of ordinary” as the Speaker should call for a division of the House, instead of by voice vote.

“Maybe they (GPS lawmakers) don’t want to have their names recorded in the Hansard for supporting this Bill.

“By doing that is out of ordinary business and names will not be recorded of who supported the Bill. That may be the reason (for the out of ordinary proceeding) because the Hansard (a record) is the history.

“So next time in the generation to come and (as) it goes down to history, these individuals are the ones who supported it,” he added.- DayakDaily