December 8, 2010

Bogus Natives with Genuine Native Certificate

Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Herman Luping has written an interesting article in relation to the row between Sabah DAP Sri Tanjung Assemblyman, Jimmy Wong and the state's Local Government and Housing Ministry under Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor over the former's Sijil Anak Negeri (SAN) or Native Certificate. Read report here.

Dr Herman is a veteran Sabahan politician. He was among the few locals who were handpicked, if not earmarked by the British Colonial government in then North Borneo, to be trained and groomed to be Senior Civil Servants(Read about his reminiscent). He was also a former Deputy Chief Minister and State-Attorney General. Hence, in my humble opinion, he is most qualified to comment on the subject compare to the younger generation of Sabahan politicians.

What is this SAN? It is a piece of document which certifies the native status to whom it is issued to. Why does a Sabah native needs to be further certified of his native status? Seems like an overkill. Isn't his rights as a native already protected in the Constitution?

Yes, his right is provided for in the Constitution. However, there are situations that SAN is needed. A very good example is:

Catherine (a dusun), marries Wong (a pure chinese) and they have a child. Say they name their child, Anthony. Anthony's surname in his MyKad and birth certificate would of course be Wong.

Anthony is a native of Sabah by virtue of his bloodline from his mother.

This unique situation exists because of a provision in the Federal Constitution, namely Article 161A (6)(B) which states:
"in relation to Sabah, a person who is a citizen, is the child or grandchild of a person of a race indigenous to Sabah, and was born (whether on or after Malaysia Day or not) either in Sabah or to a father domiciled in Sabah at the time of the birth."
If this is not enough credence, let me quote Dr Herman, "The legal and indigenous status of Sino-natives in Sabah is defined in Section 2 (The Interpretation and Definition of Native) Cap 64 Act. This Act was introduced in 1952 by the Colonial Administration".
Section 2 (1)
(a) any person both of whose parents are or were members of a people indigenous to Sabah; or
(b) any person ordinarily resident in Sabah and being and living as a member of a native community, one at least of whose parents or ancestors is or was a native within the meaning of paragraph (a) hereof; or
Let's revisit Anthony Wong's situation. Now we have established him to be constitutionally and legally a native of Sabah, how is he going to prove his status? By and large, NRD's system of registration is Patrilineality, which is a widely accepted convention. It means you take on your father's surname and lineage. So if your father's race is Chinese, NRD will therefore list you as a Chinese. The term Sino-Kadazan is unique to Sabah and was most probably coined by the British. NRD do not recognize this classification and I can understand the reasoning because if you have Sino-Kadazan, then you should have these classification too ;MaChi(Malay+Chinese), Chindian (Chinese+Indian) etc.

Allow me to quote Dr Herman again, "SINO natives or Sino Kadazans of Sabah are not classified as a race or a separate community in the population census for the State of Sabah. Kadazandusun are, however, classified as a distinct ethnic community of natives and Sino Kadazans are classified as Kadazan."

So where does this leave Anthony Wong? This is where the SAN come into the picture. However, the issuance of SAN has been frozen since 1982 due to abuse. I am not sure how they go about identifying and verifying the native status of children of mixed marriages post 1982 but my brother recently went to Mini Putrajaya Sabah and had his son's native status confirmed on his birth certificate, which brings me to another question, I thought this function rests with the Native Court of Sabah? Not that I am complaining, afterall, my nephew did get his native status vetted without much fuss but we should not cherry pick rules and laws at our convenient.

Anyway, my humble position on this matter is that there seem to be tangible proof that the relevant ministry and agencies are making headways in redressing the SAN longstanding issues. There are efforts to upgrade The Native Court to be on par with the Syariah Court, formation of the State Native Judiciary Department, formation of the Native Verification Committee and funding to the Native Court under the 2011 budget.

I hope the end result is, the various ministries and agencies (including The Native Court and NRD) would eventually in the near future(very near I hope) streamline their processes, have an effective communication and sharing of data among them, effectively enforce the constitutional rights of Sabah Natives without infringing the Constitution itself.

Although the first paragraph of my post mentioned YB Jimmy Wong and his row with the state Local Government and Housing Ministry, this post is not about the validity of his SAN and so is Dr Herman's article, at least that is my impression of his article. If the good YB has indeed a native bloodline, I pray he will have his justice but his situation, presented me with an opportunity to discuss on Bogus Natives having genuine SAN.

Just as Sabahans are grappling with illegal immigrants issues, the natives of Sabah are grappling with bogus natives, which is what got the issuance of SAN frozen in 1982. Who are these bogus natives? They are non-Natives of Sabah and also Malaysian from other states that do not have a drop of native blood but claim lineage. How do they go about achieving this? One way which is an open secret, is they would approach a native, pay the native to 'adopt' them. Voila! Instant fictitious family. Then Papa and his newly adopted adult son would approach some corrupted Native Chief who would issue a genuine SAN to the newly minted native. I wonder this loophole could be due to this highlighted clause under Cap 64 :

Section 2 (2):
In the definition of 'native' set out in subsection (1) hereof-
(a) "ancestor" means progenitor in the direct line other than a parent;
(b) "native community" means any group or body of persons the majority of whom are natives within the meaning of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) and who live under the jurisdiction of a Local Authority established under the provisions of the Rural Gorvenment Ordinance* [Cap. 132.] or of a Native Chief or Headman appointed under the provisions of that Ordinance;
(c) "parent" includes any person recognized as a parent under native law or custom.
On this I maintain my position, you can paint a horse black and white but does that make it a Zebra?

What is the motivation for them to abuse the Constitution? Greed and profit. Most of these Bogus Natives are well off folks and prowl for Native Title lands. Native Title lands are generally cheaper than a land with Country Lease Title, as cheap as RM2,000/- to RM3,000/- per acre in some cases. Native Title lands can only be owned by a native. So finding a willing seller is not enough, you must be able to effect the transfer. Hence, the need to pose as a Bogus Native.

I think I can safely hazard a guess that many of the lands planted with Oil Palm in Sabah are acquired by Bogus Natives. Dr Herman said that Datuk Hajiji announced that his Ministry is actively looking into the transfer of Native Titles to those who are not qualified and find out the legal solution how to recover the native lands sold to unqualified persons.

This is a positive development but I hope Datuk Hajiji is not simply doing a lip service. And I hope the State and Federal Government have the political will to finish to the end the task at hand. It would not be far fetch for me to suspect that some of the Bogus Natives could be well connected.

Click here to read Dr Herman's article.

1 comment:

karamazov said...

during my last visit to Sabah last November, I managed to minum kopi with one senior Sabahan civil servant, and has the opportunity to highlighting the issue of illegal immigrant with a genuine IC and citizenship docs,and he replied that state government are aware of the situation and realize that the issue has and always been the thorn in BN administration, but very little can be done about it since these are the very people who voted for BN in the election and ensure smooth victory for BN . Hence by seriously tackling the issue of illegal immigrant is liken it to shooting your own foot.

there's a twist to it tho,it appears that few years ago, during the height of nationwide immigration dept operation to send those ppl back to thr original country , few thousands pilak are denied access to philipine because lack of identification, and made thr way back to Sabah.

such event trigger the Sabah state Gov to invite the filipino gov to open a consulate in KK to process and facilitate the illegal immigrant ..but until now, no further action from filipino gov or rather they just dont bother about it , come on seriously ...Philipine have almost 70mil population, they are more than happy to have Sabah kept a few of their citizen

anyway, ever since the operation ..state government has relocated these immigrant particularly those who were in Pulau gaya settlement to areas like tuaran, if you remember , a few years ago, there was a big fire in Pulau Gaya, most of the people that affected are those immigrant who conveniently possesed a legal IC or citizen docs, and these people received help from Sabah state gov and relocate them to tuaran .. suffice to say that, Tuaran now inherit the problem originanted in Pulau gaya, especially in new low cost housing area in Tuaran

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