Government reminded not to recognise other races as Sabah Natives

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Datuk Hajiji Haji Noor

KOTA KINABALU: Former Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor, on Saturday reminded the Warisan State Government not to simply recognise  other races, including Bugis and Jawa (Javanese), as Sabah natives.

He said native is a very special status specifically meant for the indigenous Bumiputera people of Sabah.

He said this special status must be safeguarded because it is the only special privilege given to the indigenous bumiputera people in the State.

“To give recognition to other races as natives is a serious and sensitive matter.

“If this is implemented, it will definitely erode the rights of Sabah natives. The Warisan Government is reminded not to rush in doing this,” he said in a statement in response to Law and Native Affairs Minister Datuk Haji Aidi Mokhtar who had said that the Government will be reviewing whether the Bugis and Jawa communities in Sabah who originate from Jawa and Sulawesi Territories in Indonesia should be considered as natives of Sabah.

Aidi had said that according to the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance, they are currently not classified as natives.

The Minister also said that the Parti Warisan-led State Government thinks it is unfair to the Bugis and the Jawa not to be classified as natives for they have been in the state before independence.

Hajiji, who is Sulaman Assemblyman, stressed that all natives in Sabah are Bumiputeras but not all Bumiputeras are natives.

He said the Minister was probably confused between ‘bumiputera’ and ‘anak negeri’ status.

“Anak Negeri or natives are those who are indigenous to North Borneo. In a national context they are also bumiputeras under our Constitution. But a Malaysian Bumiputera does not necessarily qualify as a native of Sabah. Malays from Semenanjung and Sarawak are not recognised as natives of Sabah unless one of their parents is a native of Sabah.”

“The Bugis are indigenous people of Sulawesi while the Javanese are indigenous people of Java. If they are not indigenous people of Sabah/North Borneo, they can’t qualify to be natives within the definition of the Native Ordinance,” he explained.

Hajiji stressed that although they can claim as natives under Section 2(1)(d) Intepretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance  (Sabah Cap 64), but Section 2(3) requiring them to apply for recognition as a native at the Native Court by complying a set of conditions.

“This means that the Minister concerned is unaware that the existing law has already set procedures for Bumiputeras who are applying for recognition as a native,” he said. – By LSK/BNN