According to a press statement dated 19 September, 2023 released by Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Office, it mentioned that a natural born child of a person of a race indigenous to Sarawak can apply for recognition as natives. A fee of RM100-00 per applicant is imposed for applicants to be recognized as natives.
Such a fee to the natives, especially, in rural areas is heavy and should not be imposed at all. There is no reason to impose any fee on them for any application. Again since the law has recognized them as natives why the need for them to make an application and impose unnecessary burden on them?
To the natives who may live far from towns in places inaccessible by roads, the costs of going to town and back home after meeting government officers in the District Office to make the applications, for recognition as natives may incur much of their expenses and time. They may have to spend some nights in town before going home. Again, upon approval as a native, the applicant has to travel to town again just to collect the necessary document. Another worry they will have is whether their applications will be approved and if so how fast this could be done?
It is believed that there are thousands of children born to Sarawak natives at the moment who are not recognized as natives under the law. Many are also not having any proper documents to recognize themselves as Sarawakians. They have no identity cards or birth certificates.
Parti Bumi Kenyalang urges the Sarawak government to withdraw the fee. The imposition of a fee shows the Sarawak government lacked sincerity in helping natives to solve this problem.
VOON LEE SHAN
President, Parti Bumi Kenyalang
20 September, 2023