Include all natural-born Sarawakians as natives, says Parti Bumi Kenyalang president

Voon Lee Shan (file photo)

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KUCHING, Jan 28: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan has called on the Sarawak government to include Sarawakians of all races and tribes born in the State in the definition of ‘natives’.

He said Sir James Brooke founded the Kingdom of Sarawak, and the Rajah never discriminated against or classified people born in Sarawak as natives or non-natives.

He also said the Rajah Order 1920 stated that all natural-born Sarawakians were natives, and the Sarawak government should maintain this.

“Natives do not mean the first inhabitants or original people living in the country because, in the dictionaries, ‘natives’ refers to persons born or reared in a particular place or country.

“On reasons being born here, those born here require their citizenship (to be) as Sarawakians and should be identified as natives. This acquirement of citizenship is consistent under the law of the soils, which, in Latin, is known as ‘jus soli‘. Under this concept of law, a person’s citizenship is determined by the place where the person was born,” he said in a statement today.

Voon explained that it is a known fact that many people born in Sarawak have aboriginal connections where the ancestors of the Chinese, Indians, and Eurasians could be ‘original’ or aboriginal people of Sarawak. Thus, he argued that they should not be excluded as natives.

He also cited a piece of advice left by the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who reminded that the Chinese and Indians in Sarawak are not ‘pendatang’ (foreigners) because they are born, married, died, and buried in the State.

“If the government treats the Chinese, Indians, and Eurasians as foreigners, then why should they receive the same birth certificate and identity card as other Sarawakians?

“The Chinese, Indians, and Eurasians helped develop this country, and they should not be marginalised or discriminated against. We should understand any form of marginalisation or discrimination of any particular person or race is against human rights and not is accepted universally,” he added.

In addition, he mentioned that given the fact that Sarawak has many native tribes, the recent inclusion of the Bagatan, Bakong, Bemali, Berawan, Dali, Lakiput, Jatti Miriek, Narom, Sa’ban, Tatau, Tring and Vaie as natives only by the Sarawak government may have excluded other natives in the recent interpretation of the law as who are natives in Sarawak.

“Therefore, the more practical way to define who natives are in Sarawak should include all natural born people in Sarawak of all races and tribes,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily