DAP: Absurd for ‘parent’s birthplace’ to be criteria for one to be DUN rep

Chong Chieng Jen​

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KUCHING, Nov 21: The ‘birthplace of parent(s)’ as part of the criteria for the eligibility to be an elected member of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) is the absurdity of the new amendment to the Constitution of Sarawak.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen argued the rush job in the amendment of the State Constitution could pave the way for a non-Sarawakian to be elected as an ADUN, but at the same time, a Sarawakian may be disallowed to be elected as an Adun.

The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, he pressed, should learn to be more consultative when it comes to the amendment of the Constitution and not bulldozing through the amendment with the might of its more than two-third majority in the State Assembly.

“It is clear that under the new amendment to the Constitution of Sarawak, being a ‘Sarawakian’ is not one of the criteria for the eligibility to be an ADUN, but the ‘birthplace’ of the parents or one of them is the criteria for the eligibility to be an ADUN. That is the absurdity of the new Amendment Bill.

“In fact, with the new amendment, not only that a non-Sarawakian can be an ADUN by virtue of the birthplace of his/her parents, on the other hand, a true Sarawakian may be denied the rights to be an elected ADUN of the state,” he said in a statement yesterday (Nov 20).

Giving an illustration of a Sarawakian couple while temporarily working in Peninsula Malaysia and gave birth to a son there, in which the son is a Sarawakian with his identity card bearing the number “13” and the letter “K”.

“After the birth of their son, the couple together with their son moved back to Sarawak. The son grew up in Sarawak.

“If the son married someone who is also not born in Sarawak, under the new Amendment, the son’s children will not be eligible to be elected as a member of the Sarawak State Assembly even if they are Sarawakians and reside in Sarawak their whole life,” he explained.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, pointed out that it cannot be denied that there were thousands of Sarawakians not born in Sarawak because at the time of their birth as their parents were working outside Sarawak.

“Their children of these Sarawakians not born in Sarawak will thus be disqualified to be elected as an ADUN even if they are Sarawakians and have the letter ‘K’ in their identity cards,” he added.

A week had passed since the amendment to the Constitution was passed in the Sarawak DUN and Chong observed that all GPS ministers were dead silent on the issue and only the Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala and ex-DAP ADUN Wong King Wei came to the defence of GPS by claiming that the word “parents” connotes biological parent.

“This, however, is a miserable attempt by the two to try to defend the rush-job of GPS in tabling the Amendment Bill,” he said.
If biological parents were truly intended by the amendment, Chong who is also Stampin MP, thus asked why was the word “biological” not included in the Amendment Bill.

“And why are the (GPS) ministers so quiet about it, leaving it to an ex-DAP ADUN (Wong King Wei) to lead the defence for GPS?” he asked further. – DayakDaily