Those who are qualified to be members of Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) are governed by Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution (hereinafter, “the Constitution”). Article 16 of the Constitution states that “Every citizens of or over the age of twenty one years who is resident in the State is qualified to elected as an elected member of the Dewan Undangan Negeri, unless he disqualified for being such a member by the Federal Constitution or this Constitution or by any law such law as is mentioned in Article 17”.

The State government in the current sitting of DUN wants to reduce the age of elected members to 18 years old.
The question is who is the citizen mentioned in Article 16 of the constitution?

To answer this, we need to look at Article 44(1) of the Constitution which states, “citizens” means a citizen of the Federation. By Article 44(1) of the Constitution this definitely is not restrictive to Sarawak born citizens but to all citizens in the Federation of Malaysia.

Therefore, it is crystal clear that Malayans and Sabahans are allowed to stand for elections in Sarawak and be elected as YBs in DUN if he is resident in Sarawak. By the present Article 16 of the Constitution, it is not difficult to qualify as resident in Sarawak because the word, “resident” is very loose and need to be tightened up.

At the moment there are many Malayans who bought property and stayed here and many also who had served in the government service in Sarawak have retired here and are making Sarawak their home. This easily made them qualify to stand elections for DUN seats.

I humbly say that if the present proposed amendment in the current DUN sitting is to protect Sarawak’s right, then, the proposed amendment is flawed.

The amendment to Article 16 will still not be able to prohibit Malayans and Sabahans from standing elections and be elected as DUN member. The floodgate will still be open to them to stand elections for DUN seats if Article 44(1) of the Constitution is not amended. This will lead to DUN being swarmed by Malayans and Sabahans.

Another issue is can Malayans and Sabahans stand elections for parliamentary seats in Sarawak?

Article 47 Federal Constitution states that, “Every citizen resident in the Federation is qualified to be a member…” . Therefore, this is clear that under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution, “Citizens” refers to citizens of the Federation, that is, Malaysia, and the definition of “citizens” therefore, includes Malayans and Sabahans. Therefore, there is nothing to prohibit Malayans and Sabahans to stand for elections for any parliamentary seat in Sarawak.

Do we want Malayans and Sabahans to represent Sarawakians in Parliament? They do not know our local conditions, cultures and sentiments and how could they be able to represent the interests of Sarawak and Sarawakians in Parliament?
By this press statement, in view that both Sarawak and parliamentary elections are very near, Parti Bumi Kenyalang calls for an urgent amendment to relevant Articles of both the State and Federal Constitutions to protect Sarawak rights for the benefit of 2.8 million Sarawakians.

Voon Lee Shan


Parti Bumi Kenyalang
12 November, 2020


Parti Bumi Kenyalang is a multi-racial political party in Sarawak and having an achievable mission : "IN QUEST OF INDEPENDENCE". We plan to field 82 candidates in the coming Sarawak Election therefore we need financial support from Sarawak people and supporters abroad. After 57 years in federation of Malaysia we feel that Sarawak people can work with Parti Bumi Kenyalang to stop the plundering of Sarawak's natural resources and grab of Native Customary Rights Land against the wish of indigenous people of Sarawak.

 For the better future of Sarawak, we urge Sarawakian and overseas supporters to work with us and support us in the coming election.

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