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Friday, April 15, 2016

Ex-DAP Sabah chief loses Native Cert case

KOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah DAP head Wong Sze Phin @ Jimmy (pic) has lost his case pertaining to the validity of his possessing a Native Certificate, Thursday.

The second-tier District Native Court presided by the Mayor found the Native Certificate of Wong, who is Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu, to be "tidak sah" (not valid), Daily Express reliably learnt.

The certificate was issued in 1981 after Wong's application was approved by the Native Court of Kota Kinabalu and endorsed by the then KK District Officer. It was based on the Native Interpretations Ordinance.

It is believed that while the Native Certificate that was issued to Wong was valid as confirmed by the Native Court of Kota Kinabalu a few years ago, the issue revolved around whether he was rightfully entitled to it.

It is understood that a Committee set up to investigate the case as ordered by the Head of State and headed by the then Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, had also verified that the certificate is genuine but not necessarily the person holding it.

Hence, Wong is said to be not qualified as a native, according to the committee.

Wong has 60 days to appeal to the Native Court of Appeal against Thursday's decision, and going by the Native Court judiciary, the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak will hear the case at this level.

At this stage, Wong is allowed to appoint a lawyer to represent him.

Sabah is the only State in Malaysia where special provision was granted by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman to allow SinoKadazans to be also considered as natives provided they are the offspring of at least one native parent and had lived as a member of the native community.

It was believed that this special allowance was also in consideration of the position of would-be Malaysia Agreement signatory late Donald (later Fuad) Stephens, who himself was not a native but was appointed by the colonial administration to head the Native Advisory Council in the Legislative Council by virtue of supposed Kadazan ancestry.

Following widespread abuse in granting these certs, the then Berjaya Government in the early 1980s decided to freeze the issuance of all Native Certs. However, it is not known whether Wong had Sino lineage in order to be entitled to a Native Certificate.

Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, when contacted, declined comment and that he would issue a statement on the verdict.

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