KUCHING: An assertion that the proposed Constitutional Amendment on the interpretation of ‘resident’ in the Sarawak Constitution is meant to allow non-Sarawakians to contest in the state is misleading.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang said State Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen was not telling the truth when making the claim.
“He did not elaborate the whole meaning of Section 71 (of the Immigration Act) which in summation would require two plus three years of residency for permanent residence eligibility.
“He also did not say that at present there is no definition of the term ‘resident’ in Article 16 of our Sarawak Constitution, which means it is open to any Malaysian citizen even from outside Sarawak to qualify as a candidate in an election in Sarawak.
“This is why the amendment bill is needed,” he said in a statement on in response to the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.
Idris said the bill seeks to limit the broad meaning of ‘resident’ to ensure that outsiders would not be able to contest by simply residing in Sarawak after a period of time.
“This is so that no Tom, Dick and Harry from outside Sarawak who just take up a tenancy somewhere in the constituency would seek to be elected as an assemblyman or MP.
“Chong has twisted the story in order to steal thunder from a GPS government bill by his hue and cry.
“It is as if he doesn’t know that before this proposed bill, anyone from Malaya or Sabah is free and open to stand in an election if he or she is a resident,” he said.