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Friday, May 27, 2016

‘Genuine’ IC holders need not fear RCI

The IC issue in Sabah needs to find closure as the state cannot continue to have people holding personal documents to which they are not entitled and not eligible to hold.

KOTA KINABALU - A human rights advocate has pointed out that genuine MyKad holders in Sabah need not fear the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in the state. “The Technical Working Committee on the RCI Report, headed by Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan, is bound by the Federal Constitution and the National Registration Act,” stressed Daniel John Jambun in a telephone interview.

“If the Technical Committee has recommended the withdrawal of all MyKads issued in Sabah and their re-issuance, then it must be applauded as a step in the right direction. The MyPR (permanent residence) cards should also be looked at again and not just the MyKad.”

Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), conceded that it would have been better for the National Registration Department (NRD) to withdraw the MyKads of only those who are not eligible to hold them. “However, since the authorities concerned reportedly feel that this is not a ‘practical’ approach, it would be better to withdraw all MyKads issued in Sabah and re-issue them.”

A Sabah IC, added Jambun, would be preferable to the MyKad when the step is taken to re-issue the personal document. “If the Sabah IC is not possible at this stage, then the MyKad can be re-issued for the moment but subject to enhanced security features and complying with the Federal Constitution and the NRD Act.”

Still, said the human rights advocate, the Sabah IC can be issued by the state government to civil servants both in the state and Federal civil services in the state. “The Sabah IC can complement the MyKad.”

“That would ensure that Sabah citizens are given preference in the civil service, both state and Federal. The authorities concerned can consider the employment of Sabah permanent residents of Peninsular Malaysian and foreign origin too in the state civil service but provided they were born in Sabah.”

He does not rule out Sarawakians being employed in the state civil and Federal services, irrespective of where they were born.

Jambun was commenting on the Kadazandusun Cultural Association, headed by Pairin, lodging a police report on Monday against the Majlis Himpunan Rakyat Membantah Penarikan MyKad (Council of the Gathering of Citizens to Protest the Withdrawal of the MyKad) scheduled to take place in Kota Kinabalu on May 31.

The IC issue in Sabah, continued Jambun, needs to find closure. “We cannot continue to have people in the state holding personal documents to which they are not entitled and not eligible to hold.”

Delving into some salient details, he noted that the 2010 official population statistics on Sabah indicated there were among others 178,029 Malays and 640,964 other Bumiputera in the state. “We need to know who are these people listed as other Bumiputera.”

“Only the Orang Asal – Kadazan, Dusun, and Murut – in Sabah are Bumiputera. There are some non-Orang Asal classified by the colonial authorities in the Native Interpretation Ordinance as ‘Native’, subject to Immigration restrictions.”

On the number listed as Malay in the state, Jambun doubts that there could be so many Malays from Peninsular Malaysia in Sabah. “If people other than peninsular Malays are listed as Malays in Sabah, that’s a violation of the Federal Constitution. There are no local Malays in Sabah.”

The Federal Constitution, cited Jambun, defines Malays as Muslims speaking the Malay language and born in Singapore or the peninsula before Merdeka (1957) or their descendants. “Under the Federal Constitution, non-Malay Muslims are not Malays and cannot be listed as Malays.”

By  Joe Fernandez

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