The Kingdom of Sarawak was founded by Sir James Brooke and the Rajah never discriminated or classified people born in Sarawak as natives and non- natives. It was the Rajah Order 1920 that all natural born Sarawakians were natives and Sarawak government should maintain this.
Natives do not mean the first inhabitants or original people living the country because in the dictionaries, “natives” refers to persons born or reared in a particular place or country.
On reasons being born here, those born here requires their citizenship as Sarawakians and should be identified as natives. This acquirement of citizenship is consistent under the law of the soils, which, in Latin is known as “jus soli”. Under this concept of law, the citizenship of a person is determined by the place where the person was born.
It is a known fact that many people born here have aboriginal connection. That is, they could be Chinese, Indians and Eurasians, their ancestors could be original or aboriginal people of this land. Therefore, they should not, coupled with the fact that they are born here be excluded as natives of the land.
We should all heed to advise of beloved late chief minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who reminded all of us that the Chinese and Indians who are here are not foreigners (“pendatang”) because they are born, married, died and buried here. If the government treats chinese, Indians and Eurasians as foreigners then why should they receive the same birth certificate and identity card as other Sarawakians?
The chinese, Indians and Eurasians helped developed this country and they should not be marginalized or discriminated. We should understand any form of marginalization or discrimination of any particular person or race is against human rights and not is accepted universally.
Given the fact that Sarawak has many native tribes, the recent inclusion of the Bagatan, Bakong, Bemali, Berawan, Dali, Lakiput, Jatti Miriek, Narom, Sa’ban, Tatau, Tring and Vaie as natives only by the Sarawak government may have excluded other natives in the recent interpretation of the law as who are natives in Sarawak. Therefore, the more practical way to define who natives are in Sarawak should include all natural born people in Sarawak of all races and tribes.
VOON LEE SHAN
President, Parti Bumi Kenyalang
28 Jan 2023