What is a Sijil Anak Negeri.
The origin - When the union of Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya was about to be consummated, the leaders put in place a clause in the constitution regarding the special position of the Malays in Malaya. Our Sabahan leaders also wanted to ensure that the rights of native Sabahans are protected. Hence, there are provisions in the constitution that ensures that natives of Sabah also enjoy the special position of Malays in Malaya. However, they did not stop there. For whatever intent and purpose, they also ensured that children from mix marriages i.e. a native to non-native, also enjoy the same protection.
Whatever their intention was, the positive by-product of this peculiar afterthought, can be seen in Sabah today. Many praise Sabah being a good role model of the 1Malaysia concept. It wouldn't be far fetched to say that this unique clause encouraged mix marriages. My family clan for example, include a branch of families whom are Muslims! During our annual clan gathering, I observed and was amused that as the Christian relatives were chopping porks in the kitchen(for the christian relatives consumption of course), our Muslim relatives just walked passed without even flinching. We respect each other and we tolerate our respective beliefs and lifestyles. In West Malaysia, my brother in-law went to buy a can of luncheon meat(pork) in a big Supermarket and the Malay cashier refused to touch the can and asked my brother in-law to handle the can himself? Being a Sabahan whom are generally non-confrontational and accommodating, my brother in-law brushed aside the rude service and complied.
In Sabah, if one of your parents or grandparents is a native, then you are considered as a Bumiputra(son of the soil). I for example is a Bumiputra by virtue that my mother is a KadazanDusun. My father is a chinese, therefore, I have a Chinese Surname but I am a Bumiputra. I imagine not most West Malaysians are aware of this because you guys have not really tried to know us.
And in Sabah, your status as a Bumiputra is not determined by your religion. I am a Sino-Kadazan(a colonial term to refer someone whom of Chinese and KadazanDusun lineage), I am a bumiputra but I am a Christian. Therefore, it hurts my feeling and my fellow Christian Sino-KadazanDusun and KadazanDusun when you attacked our religion and burn churches.
How does the authority identify us, the offspring of mix marriages? - The Makahmah Anak Negeri(Native Court) will issue a certificate called Sijil Anak Negeri(Native Certificate) once they have verified your lineage and your application is validated by a Ketua Kampung(Village Head).
Why is Sijil Anak Negeri such a big deal? - Special Position. Need I say more? It is a document that is well sought after. With it you have access to buying lands with Native Titles that are generally dirt cheap. In Sabah, there are 2 types of land titles i.e. Native Titles and Country Lease. Only natives can purchase a Native Title land and non-natives can only own Country Lease titled lands. The latter is expensive than the former. Why Native Titled land is cheap? Perhaps it is to make it easier for natives to own lands.
Unscrupulous businessmen and government officials had and perhaps still issuing Sijil Anak Negeri to people who have no native lineage at all. Follow these insightful websites : http://asam-lambunau.blogspot.com/2009/04/dilema-sijil-anak-negeri-sabah.html and http://www.sabahkini.net/v1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1211:dilema-sijil-anak-negeri-sabah&catid=68:anak-negeri&Itemid=74. How did and do the unscrupulous businessmen obtained these certificates? Money. Bribe the Ketua Kampung(Village Head) and the government officials to look the other way and get someone to claim that he/she is the parent or grandparent of the applicant.
The state government under Parti Berjaya froze the issuance of Sijil Anak Negeri to curb this abuse but the problem still persists.
In Beaufort, there is a local businessman who is 100% Chinese but he has a Sijil Anak Negeri? He purchased lands from the natives and used these lands to plant Oil Palm. There is even a West Malaysian Chinese businessman who owns substantial lands in Beaufort in which he planted his Palm Oil.
The local businessman also obtained Sijil Anak Negeri for his children. How is that possible? He and his wife are 100% chinese, His parents are 100% Chinese and his wife's parents are West Malaysians?
In this new political landscape and enlightenment, one can argue that giving special positions to certain race is no longer relevant in this age of globalisation. I agree. I've never taken advantage of my rights as bumiputra, I haven't redeemed my benefit points yet(referring to Bonus Link etc. Tongue in cheek). However, it irks me on the manner of rich individuals who procure lands via corrupted channels. They purchased lands at dirt cheap price from ignorant and irresponsible natives who just wanted a quick fix. They exploited this.
I wonder what would be the immediate economic impact on Sabah and Malaysia should the Sabah state government or the federal government suddenly decide to clamp down on all these fake bumiputras who own vast Oil Palm plantatation? Hmm? Like a spanner thrown into the engine of the economy? One would speculate that it is one of the reasons why the authority has been keeping it's eyes closed.
Separately, our fellow Muslim Natives have been calling for the abolishment of issuance of Sijil Anak Negeri. have suggested that we do without Sijil Anak Negeri and rely solely on MyKad to identify whether we are Bumi or non-Bumis. One problem. Reconciliation of this idea with the Malaysia Constitution. Most application forms distributed from the federal government example National Registration Department, do not include Kadazan, Murut etc much less Sino-KadazanDusun, Sino-Murut, Sino-Bisaya etc. Seems like although the West Malaysian leaders in the government understand the dynamic of Sabah and Sarawak, their sub-ordinates don't.
This is what is hampering 1Malaysia to materalize.