State govt wants natives to be properly recognised

Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali

KUCHING: The state government is pushing for natives in Sarawak to be properly recognised under the Federal Constitution.

Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the definition of ‘natives’ under the supreme law must be updated.

“The definition of Natives of Sarawak in the Federal Constitution had always been a concern as the current definition does not accurately reflect the numerous different races of the natives in the state.

“Often, apart from the Malay, Chinese and Dayak, the rest of the natives would be conveniently categorised as ‘others’ or ‘lain-lain’,” she said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 21).

She said the state government is proposing for the definition of natives to be updated to reflect the numerous different races of the natives.

“Obviously due to the number of different races in the state, coming up with an exhaustive list itself represents a daunting task. Hence the assistance of the Majlis Adat Istiadat was obtained in our attempts to come up with a list that is as specific and as complete as possible to ensure no native of Sarawak feels left out.

“It is our fervent hope that these amendments be tabled and passed in this Parliamentary session so that we can move on and continue to drive the Government’s agenda of nation building for a better Malaysia,” she explained.

At the same time, Sharifah Hasidah said the state has remained steadfast in the efforts to reclaim any and all rights eroded despite the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She pointed out that the current federation is established pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) of which Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and the then federation of Malaya were signatories to.

In saying this, she noted that the importance of MA63 in the formation of Malaysia demands that the agreement to be recognised in the Federal Constitution as such and the state government will be unrelenting in the pursuit of this objective.

“Consequently, the state government had been proposing that certain amendments to be made to the Federal Constitution.

“Firstly, the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution needs to be amended to accurately describe the components of the new Federation in accordance with the aspiration and spirit of our forefathers when they entered into the agreement.

“Secondly, we have proposed that Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution be amended to emphasize that the Federation of Malaysia was indeed established pursuant to the 1963 Agreement and not the 1957 Agreement of which Sarawak and Sabah were not parties to,” she said.

She added that the state government has also proposed that he special grants be reviewed in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

“The state has submitted the state’s views on how the review process should be done as provided in the Article 112D of the Federal Constitution. This is to ensure that subsequent revisions or reviews will be based on the same principles and factors,” she said.