Government being fair to future leaders

Abdul Karim

KUCHING: The two limbs introduced as part of the amendment to Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution ensure rightful Sarawakians will not be wrongly disqualified from being a State Legislative Assembly (DUN) member.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the two conditions to define ‘resident in the State’ are not contradictory.

“There are more than 50,000 Sarawakians in Johor and as well as other places in Malaya and they have been there for twenty or thirty years.

“But deep inside they are Sarawakians, maybe one day they want to come back here and contest in election, of course they are eligible as they have the Sarawak connection.

“This is why we open that part; we don’t limit it to those who are born in Sarawak, we are being fair to our future leaders, we want to see it (Sarawak) governed by those with Sarawak at heart,” he said in a video interview with local portal DayakDaily recently, when asked to comment on the recently passed constitutional amendment bill.

In the amendment, the first limb to define ‘resident in the State’ is that they are citizens who are born in the State whose parents or either of them was born in Sarawak and he/she must be normally resident in Sarawak.

The second limb is that citizens, though not born in Sarawak, his/her parents or either of them was born in Sarawak and he/she must be normally resident in Sarawak.

Abdul Karim assured there is no better person to manage Sarawak other than Sarawakians.

“That is the reason we want to be exclusive, to make sure those sitting in our law-making body to be those that are Sarawak at heart; not just someone who comes in from other state, stay here for years and contest in election and get elected,” he said.

He also hoped that the amendment be gazetted in time for the next State election to ensure the DUN is exclusive to Sarawakians.

“It has already been endorsed, to amend the Constitution, we need two-thirds majority, we have gone through that, there is this process of gazetting and referral to Head of State that will take its due course.

“It can be done in one month or (even as soon as) two weeks. But I would love to see this bill to become law,” he said.