Sarawakians of mixed parentage may apply for native status starting Nov 1, 2023

Sharifah Hasidah is photographed holding a document after the press conference at her office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia on Sept 19, 2023.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 19: Sarawakians, especially children born of mixed marriages, may begin applying for recognition as natives from Nov 1, 2023 onwards.

This comes following the Sarawak government’s decision to enforce the Interpretation (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 to determine the native status of any person, effective Nov 1, 2023.

Announcing this today, Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said this marked a significant milestone for the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government and Sarawak as a whole.

“The Sarawak government will establish a committee headed by the State Secretary to review and consider applications for native recognition.

“We (the ministry) are in the process of gazetting the Ordinance,” she told a press conference at her office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.

This amendment grants Sarawak the authority to determine the native status of individuals, even those of mixed parentage.

In line with the provisions of the Interpretation (Amendment) Ordinance 2022, the qualifying criteria for any person to be recognised as a native of Sarawak are:

●He/she must be a Malaysian citizen;
●A natural born child of a person of a race indigenous to Sarawak;
●One of his/her parents is a person of a race indigenous to Sarawak.

Effective Nov 1, 2023, any application for recognition as a native can be made at any District Office in Sarawak, with a fee of RM100 per application.

Sharifah Hasidah expressed confidence that this will address and resolve the predicament faced by many Sarawakians, particularly those of mixed parentage with one indigenous parent.

“As of now, people have to go to court. With this Ordinance enforced and a special committee formed to oversee applications, it would ease the procedures.

“Most importantly, there would be no issue that both parents must be native in order for the children to have native status and for land inheritance,” she emphasised.

Sharifah Hasidah believes this will benefit those seeking native status, especially regarding land inheritance issue and other privileges such as in higher learning institutions.

This announcement, she added, also augurs well with the many queries raised by elected representatives. — DayakDaily