Ordinance on native status: Sarawak government drafting conditions, requirements

14/07/2022 05:19 PM

KUCHING, July 14 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak government is in the midst of drafting the conditions and requirements to be imposed for the recognition of natives under the Interpretation (Amendment) Ordinance 2022.

Deputy Minister in Premier of Sarawak's Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Syeed Aman Ghazali said the ordinance which was passed by State Legislative Assembly on Feb 15 was published in the Sarawak Gazette on Feb 25.

She said however that the said Ordinance has yet to come into force.

“The state government is in the midst of drafting the conditions and requirements to be imposed by the State Executive Council for the recognition of a person (who is a citizen and natural born child of a person of a race indigenous to Sarawak) as a native of Sarawak as stipulated in the said Ordinance.

“Thus, to safeguard the special position and rights of the natives of Sarawak as enshrined under the Federal Constitution, the state government needs to ensure that the said conditions and requirements are suitable, reasonable, practical and more importantly are not redundant with current conditions, requirement and process,” she said in a statement here, today.

She said the state government has also directed the relevant government agencies such as the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak, the Native Courts of Sarawak, the State Secretary's office together with the State Attorney-General's Chambers to look into the drafting of the conditions and requirements to be imposed holistically.

“Once it's done, the draft conditions and requirements will be presented to the state executive council for approval.

“Upon approval for implementation, the said Ordinance will be gazetted for enforcement,” she added.

On Feb 15, the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill 2022 which among others, updates the list of indigenous races in the state.

The amendment was done principally to add 12 additional races to the Schedule of the Interpretation Ordinance and to give effect to the recent amendment in Clause (6)(a) of Article 161A Federal Constitution on the indigenous races of Sarawak.   

The 12 additional races included in the proposed amendment are Bagatan, Bakong, Bemali, Berawan, Dali, Lakiput, Jatti Miriek, Narom, Sa’ban, Tatau, Tring and Vaie.