‘No need to nominate ‘test case candidate’ to prove a point over revision to Constitution’

Michael Kong

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KUCHING, Nov 19: DAP Sarawak will not nominate a candidate just for the sake of ‘test case’ to determine the interpretation of the amendment of Sarawak Constitution.

Michael Kong, who is the special assistant to chairman Chong Chien Jen asserts that while Deputy Speaker for the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Datuk Gerawat Gala and GPS government may subscribe to the idea that a ‘Putri’ type candidate be put as a candidate as a ‘test case’, DAP Sarawak will not do so just so that they can thread on a thin line.

“DAP Sarawak has and always been a principled party which believes only a Sarawakian shall only be qualified to stand in the Sarawak election. That’s also the reason why Chong proposed that the word ‘Sarawakian’ be inserted into the Constitution amendment bill, but such a proposal was rejected by the GPS.

“For Gerawat to quote the case of Pendaftar Besar Kelahiran dan Kematian, Malaysia v Pang Wee See & Anor [2017] 3 MLJ 308 is erroneous. The case was respecting the citizenship of the person where the Court of Appeal looked at Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution read together with section 1(a) of Part II, Second Schedule.

“Section 1(a) of Part II, Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution provides that ‘every person born outside the Federation whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanent resident in the Federation’,” Kong explained, adding that the keyword is ‘at the time of the birth’ because it that would mean the citizenship or permanent residence of the biological parent of the child is to be considered.

However, in the present newly amended Constitution of the State of Sarawak, he pointed that there is no reference to the biological parent at any point and therefore to infer that it would extend to biological parents is wrong in law.

Kong further argued that if truly biological parents are the intent of the GPS government, why didn’t the latter put in the word ‘biological’ or the phrase ‘at the time of the birth’ and leave such ambiguity in the amendment bill.

“It is irresponsible of GPS to pass a law with the intention of leaving rooms and ambiguity for the court to decide one way or another. We are talking about constitutional amendments here so there must be absolute clarity so as to reach its purpose,” he said. -DayakDaily