By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Nov 10: Members of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) should be elected from Sarawakians who are loyal to the state.
Jefferson Jamit Unyat (PBB-Bukit Goram) said only loyal Sarawakians deserved to become elected representatives and strive for the betterment of Sarawak.
During the debate on the proposed amendment to Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2020 to define and clarify the words “resident in the state”, Jefferson brought up the case of former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon who had dual citizenship from Sarawak and Australia.
“Sarawakians who belong here being with our people, serving, listening to the people and hearing the wishes for Sarawak. These are the ones who will lead, serve the people of Sarawak and truly strive for the betterment of Sarawak.
“I believe only Sarawakians can be trusted to safeguard Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63); only Sarawakians will be able to build a consensus about the state’s affairs and be willing to align themselves for the best interests of Sarawak — local Sarawakians and not like the previous one ‘Australian’.
“Australian ‘pun boleh datang sini’ (can also be elected in Sarawak DUN).
“I strongly believe the seats of state assemblyman should only be open to the citizens of Sarawak,” he said during the DUN sitting here today.
Meanwhile, Datuk Idris Buang (PBB-Muara Tuang) stressed that amending the bill is required to protect Sarawak from unethical or uncultured politics from outside Sarawak.
He explained that the word “resident in the state” must be properly defined to prevent non-Sarawakians from standing in the Sarawak election.
Idris revealed that he had earlier proposed the amendment to the Sarawak Constitution by defining the word “resident” and had suggested a minimum of 10 years’ residency for Malaysians who wanted to obtain permanent residency (PR) status in Sarawak.
He added that in the proposed amendment to the Constitution of Sarawak, there is a condition for a minimum of five years to obtain PR eligibility status in Sarawak.
Idris revealed that the eligibility criteria was divided into two parts, comprising a two-year period and a three-year extension.
He urged Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) to look into these details of the proposed amendment.
“With regards to what is the minimum (number of) years and so on, I believe there is much to be done for us to really define “resident” so we can do away with the ambiguity,” he said.
Idris opined that the amendment is needed to protect Sarawak, embodying the sentiments of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who espouses the slogan of “Sarawak First” and former Chief Minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem who called on Sarawakians to take good care of Sarawak.
He noted Abang Johari mentioned in his speech that only Sarawakians can take care of Sarawak.
Giving an example of an United Malays National Organisation (Umno) member from Peninsular Malaysia has stayed in Sarawak for three weeks and has an address in Muara Tuang, Idris said under the present conditions, the Umno member can stand in the Sarawak election.
Hence, Idris believed the proposed amendment to the Sarawak Constitution to define the word “resident” is important to prevent non-Sarawakians from becoming an elected representative in DUN.
Earlier, Chong argued that the proposed amendment to the Sarawak Constitution will open the floodgates for those from Peninsular Malaysia to obtain Sarawakian PR in two years’ time. — DayakDaily