Thursday, 11 October 2007

Easy to be a Native of Sabah?

I have lost count of the years the Native Certificate's issue had been debated openly by leaders and the people of Sabah alike. This issue is so dear to the people of Sabah, particularly children of inter-marriages. The Natives, among others, are the Kadazan/Dusun, Murut, Bajau, Brunei, Idahan, (a long list). As Native, they have certain rights that others do not have.

One of the many problems faces by those (born after April 22, 1982) without the Native Certificate is that they can not inherit land from their parents, can not buy Native land, unable to buy Native Unit Trust and most important of all, non-holders are not not recognised as Native.

The Native Certificates are issued by the Native Court but had been frozen since April 22, 1982 due to abuses. e.g - Non-natives issued this certificates through dubious mean (forgery). Many cases had been discovered certificates issued after April 1982 and many of the holders had managed to by Native land.

Today in a Press conference, Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Noor issued a Press statement on this matter which I shall reproduce here.

"The State Cabinet at its meeting yesterday, among other things, discuss the Native Certificate of NC (Sijil Anak Negeri) the issuance of which had been frozen since 22 April, 1982. The subject matter has become an issue lately with various quarters making Press statements or comments, among which was the difficulty faced by Sabahans one of whose parents is a Native.

Among the difficulties faced were their failure to purchase Amanah Saham Bumiputera (Native Unit Trust)shares or purchasing or inheriting Native land or registering their names in Native Titles land. Other difficulties faced include missing education opportunities like scholarships and institutions meant for Natives, purchasing of housing units under the Bumiputra quota, and business opportunities including registering as Bumiputra contractor or participating in tenders meant for Natives.

The Cabinet meeting decided that while the freeze had its merit and its lifting can only be done after careful study due to its sensitivity including past abuses, at the same time a temporary measure needs to be put in place so that genuine Natives do not continue to lose out.

Hence, with immediate effect, `clear cut cases' can apply for special verification from the Director of the Sabah Native Affairs office who is also the secretary of the Sabah native Affairs Council which is under the purview of the State Local Government and Housing Ministry. The verification will be issued on a `case to case' basis.

Example of clear cut cases are:

1. An applicant one of whose parents is a Native and whose race is clearly stated in the Birth Certificate or whose Native Certificate had been certified by the Native Court which issued it upon checking by the Director.

2. Examples of children of mixed marriage who qualifies for Native Certificate are - Sino-Kadazan/KadazanDusun, Indian-Kadazan/Dusun, Sino-Murut, Pakistan-Bajau, American-Murut, English-Brunei, Arab-Idahan, Filipino-Kadazan and similar cases."

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