KUCHING, Feb 3: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and concerned citizens across Sarawak have lodged police reports to request investigations to be initiated to verify the authenticity of a viral social media post featuring a purported page from the Sarawak Gazette.
The alleged page indicated the inception of Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib, the Syrian-born wife of state governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, as a Melanau, one of the indigenous communities of Sarawak.
One such NGO group that lodged a police report yesterday was Borneo Indigenous People’s Pact (BIPP) through Bruce Kusel.
Meanwhile, Bill Jugah, a member of Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) said that these police reports were made not to question the constitutional aspect of the inception but more on the speed that it was done.
“There are countless indigenous people born in Sarawak who are either stateless or not holding proper identification documents and they have been waiting for ages for their documents.
“One applicant till his last breath died at the age of 92 holding a red IC although he was born and raised in Sarawak.
“Also, spouses of Sarawak citizens who have gone through arduous processes to obtain their permanent residency have waited for more than ten years without any word on their applications.
“Is there a different set of laws applicable to the rich and influential while another set of laws (applies) for the common people? This is what we question. Another question is, how could she and her two sons be granted recognition as Melanau so fast?” said Bill.
He said, under normal procedures, a candidate had to undergo due and fair processes such as being proficient in the language of that race and practices or conform to the customs and cultures of that particular community.
“The issue is not about the race. The pertinent issue is that thousands of actual native Sarawakians still remain stateless while those with access to power and influence are able to allegedly circumvent procedures meant for this process.
“This is not about her race. This is not about the constitution. This is about abuse of power. Therefore, all these police reports are to investigate whether there is any such element,” Bill said. — DayakDaily