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KUCHING, Oct 16: Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) hopes that all MPs from Sarawak, irrespective of their political affiliations, will support the Amendment Bill on Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, as well as in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), to resolve the ‘native’ definition issues in Sarawak.
Its secretary-general Libat Langub said DCCI welcomes the recent announcement made by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, on the amendment to the Article regarding the definition of “native” of Sarawak.
According to him, at present, Article 161A of the Federal Constitution (the supreme law of the land) and the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance (a State law) exclude the children of native and non-native mixed marriages in the definition of “native” of Sarawak.
“The effect of the said law has brought serious and dire legal predicaments to many children of mixed parentage in the area of inheritance and transfer of native lands.
“We, therefore, hope that all Members of Parliament, irrespective of their political affiliations, will support the said Amendment Bill on Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, and for the Sarawak State Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) to simultaneously amend the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance accordingly,” he said in a statement today.
Libat noted, although at present, such children of mixed parentage may apply to the Native Court for a native status for the purpose of dealing with native lands under the Sarawak Land Code, many have not done so.
“This is because of the cumbersome, lengthy administrative processes and procedures involved, due to unnecessary government bureaucracy, causing unreasonably long delay for decisions on their applications,” he added.
Libat also pointed out that under the Sarawak Land Code, dealings in native lands, such as transferring between a native parent to his or her child of mixed parentage, are prohibited because the child is considered not a native under the law.
He said a few native tribes in Sarawak are also left out in the definition of “native” of Sarawak in the said provisions of the law, and are therefore legally not natives of Sarawak.
“It is our view that the present state of the law is out of sync with the present time as inter marriages between natives and non natives have become very common,” he added. – DayakDaily.