Let’s debate



SUPP Youth chief ready to take on Soon Koh

KUCHING: The passing of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 clearly shows that a non-Sarawakian can never be a Sarawakian and can never be a member of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), even if he or she was born in Sarawak.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Michael Tiang said an individual, although not born in Sarawak, but has at least one parent born in Sarawak and is a resident, would be eligible to contest in the Sarawak Election and to become a member of the DUN.

“The amendment Bill was drafted according to the principle of Jus Sanguinis, an international legal principal of nationality law. The Latin term ‘Jus Sanguinis’ means ‘right of blood’, and it is the right of citizenship to a country or a territory that either both parents or one of the parents is a citizen of.

“Regardless of where you were born, you have the right to such citizenship in your parent’s country or territory,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Monday (Nov 16).

Tiang was responding to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh who had challenged SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian to debate on the recent amendment Bill.

He said therefore the constitutional amendment correctly requires that for any eligible person to become a member of DUN, he or she must have Sarawakian parentage.

“In other words, he or she must have at least one parent who was born in and is a resident in Sarawak, even though the person was not born in Sarawak.”

He said the illustration of ‘Leila and Putri’ used by Soon Koh was also conflicting with the latter’s own view that any Malaysian not born in Sarawak can be a candidate in the state election.

“Leila is a daughter to West Malaysian parents. Even though Leila was born in Sarawak, due to her West Malaysian parentage, she is not a Sarawakian. She then married a West Malaysian man and gave birth to a daughter, Putri, in West Malaysia.

“Putri is now working in Sarawak as a policewoman with permanent resident status but she is still not eligible to run as a candidate in the state election as neither of her parents is a Sarawakian,” he said.

He reiterated the purpose of the new amendment was to prevent non-Sarawakians from becoming members in the DUN, further protecting Sarawakians of its basic rights.

“The objective of this constitutional amendment is also very much in line with GPS’ political agenda that is to always safeguard Sarawak rights and privileges by putting ‘Sarawak First’ in its governance of the state,” he said.

Tiang therefore said on behalf of his party president Dr Sim, he would accept Wong’s challenge to have a public debate on the latest constitutional amendment on a person’s eligibility to become a DUN member.

“I am more than happy to grab this opportunity to have a debate with Wong Soon Koh, a senior state assemblyman for Bawang Assan since 1991, since he reckoned that such a public debate is necessary to allow the public to see whether the new amendment has, in any way, risked the basic rights of Sarawakians,” he said.

He also said while Wong mocked Dr Sim for failing to understand the English words used in the Bill, the latter and his Democratic Action Party (DAP) allies were in fact making a blunder by using basic English to interpret the amendment to Article 16 of the state constitution.

“… and such erroneous interpretation is an irresponsible and misleading act altogether,” he said.

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