By : QUEVILLE TO
KOTA KINABALU: The question of who is a Sabah “native” as well as the dubious position of children of mixed parentage has been brought to the attention of the state government.
Kepayan assemblyman Edwin Bosi has asked the state government to rectify the “blunder” of labeling the offspring of natives and the Chinese as “Sino-Natives”.
He also wants the government to stop classifying non-Malay bumiputeras as “others”.
He said there was no logic in the term and that the children from such marriages should be called Sino-Kadazan, Sino-Dusun, Sino-Murut, Sino-Rungus and so on to reflect their heritage.
“(Sino-native) is not a race,” he said in his maiden debate speech on the motion of thanks after the head of state’s policy speech at the Sabah Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Bosi said the state government should advise the National Registration Department (NRD) to stop using Sino-Native as an official term.
He said the term Sino-Native as a definition of a native of Sabah itself was not clear.
He went on to note that Sabah has three laws addressing the issue – (Definition of Native) Ordinance 1964, Article 161A (6) (b) of the Federal Constitution and Article 41 (10) of the Sabah State Constitution.
“However, the word native is not clearly defined compared to the “Malay” race which is clearly defined in the Federal Constitution. Therefore, the definition of native is broad and open to so many interpretations.
“This has resulted in a confused state of affairs opening opportunity for abuse,” he said.
BN aware of issue
Bosi said the state Barisan Nasional government was aware of the problem and had set up a high-powered committee in 2003 under the Housing and Local Government Ministry to look into the matter and find solutions but nothing had come of it.
“What has happened to the committee and what is the outcome?” he asked.
Bosi said that apart from the wrong usage of the Sino-Native term, the NRD also did not recognise the Sino-Kadazans as people of mixed parentage.
“In fact, persons who have Chinese and Kadazan parents have been asked to choose either Kadazan or Chinese as their race.
“I don’t think this is fair for the person because he or she has two races. Sabah is really unique and this is what makes us proud,” he said.
“I hope that in the future a person from the indigenous community will never to be asked to put their race as ‘others’,” he said.
At the same time, Bosi also appealed to the government to make a decision and quickly resolve the status issue of former Sri Tanjung assemblyman, Jimmy Wong.
“The matter is still hanging and it is an injustice to Jimmy Wong,” he said.
Earlier, Bosi hoped the government would cooperate with the opposition elected representatives in carrying out their duties to assist the state government in developing Sabah.
“In order to achieve this objective, the government must help the opposition elected representatives by giving us the power to appoint our People Development Leader (PKR), provide us with offices and to allow us to attend meetings at the District Council or City Hall,” he said.
On another note, Bosi called on the state government to continue the investigation and find those responsible for the death of the 14 pygmy elephants in the Mt Rara Forest Reserve in December last year.
Based on reports, he said there had been signs of poisoning.
He said the government however must go on record and announce the findings of the investigation and bring those responsible to book because the incident had given a bad image of Malaysia, especially Sabah.
He said the country was already being attacked by foreign NGOs on the orangutan habitat and palm oil plantation issue.
He said the government must announce the results of the postmortem, type of poison used and whether investigation is still being done to find those responsible.
“Is the government considering listing the pygmy elephants as a protected species under Schedule 1 of the 1997 Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment?” he asked.
Bosi also asked if the government still allowed logging and forest clearing for palm oil plantations since the government was promoting the tourism industry, particularly eco-tourism.
He noted that the issue of the pygmy elephants death vanished to thin air after the Lahad Datu incursion.
“Before we totally forget about it I appeal to the government to continue with the investigation and find those responsible and subsequently charge them in the court of law,” he said.