Sunday, June 8, 2008

Are Ibans and Bidayuhs Natives of Sarawak?

June is the month for Gawai Dayak and like all other natives, Ibans and Bidayuhs in Sarawak do celebrate Gawai Dayak and although Ibans and Bidayuhs join other natives to celebrate the Gawai Dayak, are they natives of Sarawak as provided under the Federal Constitution? By asking this question, I meant no offence,insult or disrespect to the Ibans and Bidayuhs in Sarawak. I respect them and their cultures and like any other Malaysians I do care and is concerned about the welfare and the rights of the Ibans and Bidayuhs in this country and also other indigenous races in Sarawak. In fact, it is out of concern that I posed this question.

If we look at clause 6 of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, it states as follows:

“In this Article “native” means –

(a) in relation to Sarawak, a person who is a citizen and either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the State or is of mixed blood deriving exclusively from other races; and

(b) …………………….............................................................................................................................................................
(7) The races to be treated for the purposes of the definition of “native” in Clause (6) indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kelabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs, (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tajongs and Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanos, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.”

Therefore, under the Federal Constitution, a person is a “native” only, if firstly, he is a citizen of Malaysia and second if he falls under the description of one of the races in clause (7) of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution.

Then how could some ibans and bidayuhs who were born and raised in this soil be a citizen if he or she possesses no identification papers? A person could not be a Malaysian unless he possesses the Malaysian identity card. The issue of identification papers, birth certificates and identity cards had been debated or raised in all, if not, almost all sessions of the sittings of the Dewan Undangan Negeri. We could see expression of frustrations in the faces of many Yang Berhormats in the august House each time they raised this issue because until today there are still many ibans and bidayuhs and other indigenous races who had not in their possession of any identification papers so as to identify themselves as Malaysians. Without identification papers, these people will never be able to open bank accounts or to pursue tertiary education. They may also not be able to register their marriages. Their future will be very bleak and how could we expect them to compete with the outside world?

Now, as could be deduced from clauses (6) and (7) of the said Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, “natives” do not include ibans and bidayuhs although we know for the fact that all natives celebrate the Gawai Dayak Festival. Therefore, although Ibans and Bidayuhs do celebrate Gawai Dayak, they are in my humble understanding of the Federal Constitution been excluded as natives of this soil. This is because the said clauses (6) and (7) of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution do no say ibans and bidayuhs are “natives”.

At the same time, who are the “sea dayaks” and who are the “land dayaks”? Are we going to say that ibans and bidayuhs who lived near the riverbanks and the seas are classified as “sea dayaks” and that those lived in the interior country as “land dayaks”? Or are we going to say ibans as “sea dayaks” and bidayuhs as “land dayaks”? We need to understand that Ibans are Ibans and bidayuhs are bidayuhs. It is like Hokkien people are Hokkien people and Hakka people are Hakka people although both are Chinese people. We should have no more terms like “sea Chinese” and “land Chinese” because if we say “sea Chinese” this could be rude or be wrongly construed as privates of Chinese race while "land Chinese" could be a slang to refer them as barbarians!

In local usage, we know Iban and Bidayuh are also Dayaks and Dayaks is a term used to identify all indigenous people of Borneo and not only a reference to Dayaks in Sabah and Sarawak alone.

Nowadays, we could even find other native races besides ibans and bidayuhs living near to the riverbanks and the seas. So, how to define them? Are they also be called as “sea dayaks”?

The failure of the Federal Constitution to clearly define “natives” or to include Ibans and Bidayuhs as “natives” of Sarawak, shows that despite already achieving 45 years of independence, the identity of the ibans and bidayuhs and many other indigenous races in Sarawak are yet settled and many of them could not even be identified as Malaysians, due to the failure of the relevant authorities to issue identification papers to them. I touched on Ibans and Bidayuhs, because they are the larger native races, but, I am also not neglecting or forgetting other native races, like Lun Bawangs, Berawans, etc., who are also equally not been considered natives of Sarawak, because they are not categorized as such in the Federal Constitution.

In all respect, Article 161A of the Federal Constitution has to be amended to make the term, “natives” to include ibans, bidayuhs and all other natives races and the terms, “land dayak” and “sea dayak” be abolished. At the same time, the term, “Dayak” should also be properly defined.

I am afraid that, the end effect is that if those who are natives but not categorized as natives in the Federal Constitution, the special privileges as provided under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution to these missed out natives, that is, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Lun Bawangs, Berawans, etc.) could legally be refused to be accorded to them.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution provides for reservations of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak. This Article 153 of the Federal Constitution mentioned two types of people, that is the malays as one type and the other, the natives.

Again while Malays as a race is considered “natives” in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, then, what is the reason behind the Federal Constitution that gave special mention of the Malays alone and not other native races in the said Article 153 of the Federal Constitution? The malays being natives as classified in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution should be treated the same as other natives and there should not be any difference and all natives irrespective their races should have corresponding rights to each other. Meaning that, the rights enjoyed by other natives should not be lesser than the rights enjoyed by the malays.

This is because both malays and other indigenous races in Malaysia are politically termed as “bumiputeras” and they are all natives for the purpose of special rights or protection accorded to them under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. Therefore, this could be deemed to create two classes of bumiputera, that is, malay as natives being one special class of its own and the other natives mentioned in the Federal Constitution as the other class of bumiputera.
Since Ibans, Bidayuhs, Berawans, Lun Bawangs, etc., although we all know as natives, but, not classified as natives in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, could they be said are bumiputera?

Recently, I was told there was a bidayuh whose application for a loan of RM 5 million from a government agency to start a bumiputera entrepreneurship was rejected because he was said not a bumiputera. The father of the said Bidayuh youth who confided the matter to me was very annoyed that such right was not accorded to his son! The matter was then brought to Parliament by a leader of the then Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang.
Another effect is that for the purpose of the Malaysian race, I was told that some government forms only refer to Malays, Chinese, Indians and Others.... Why this was so? Who are "Others"? Meaning that, in Malaysia, only three races are recongizable, that is, Malay, Chinese and Indians! If there were such forms, this already showed that there was a smell of discrimnation against other natives and especially natives that are not included in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution and this could go against Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution. As a Malaysian race, at least the Chinese and Indians are recongizable along the Malays! Where do the natives stand?

May Iban and Bidayuh MPs raise this matter in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution so as to make clearer the races that fall as “natives”.
I call for public awareness of this matter and invite comments.


Anonymous said...

Can MPs write to the relevant authority to seek for an answer and at the same time raise the question in parliament?

Are chinese in Sarawak born during the Rajah's time natives. Then Land Order No.8 said, Any person born in Sarawak a subject of his highness the rajah is a native, regardless indigenous or non-indigenous.

RICO said...

国选惨败和联应辞职 作者:真相

520行动党在砂州大胜,中选6州议席!是许多人没料到的事,当时党内上下对派出候选人 的认同,大家同心协力,团结合作,是大选突破的原因之一。


回首展望308国选后的砂州,行动党以为可拿下4或5席的国席,结果只拿下古晋一席,余者皆败阵下来。原因是公正党不满行动党这次突然委任了该党大将黄华西来泗里街替行动党出战该区,而引起了行动党内,尤其泗里街及民丹莪两支部党员领导的不满,加以在选举间,公正党的黄锦河到处站台,搞局,配合人联攻击行动党候选人,包括实旦宾行动党候选人温利山,都受攻击,与国阵人联一唱一和。动摇了部分人民对行动党的信心,结果让国阵大胜!然而公正党的黄锦河,整天在预测公正党有胜算!但选举结果,公正党在砂州全军覆没!连按柜金有些被吃掉,倒也帮了公正党在国会的席位中当上老大,坐上国会反对党领袖席位。民行党这次国会只得28席,公正党却得31 席,要不是黄锦河出来到处搞局呛声,行动党至少可多得4席呢! 什么会轮到公正党阿兹莎当上反对党领袖? 这都是黄锦河的功劳,他领导砂公正党全军覆没是否也应该辞职?负起责任?这要看安华对这位宝贝的态度如何?

纵观这次308的全国大选,怪行动党的领导错用策略,首先没征询支部,党员意见,不顾支部干部党员的反对,一意孤行,自作主张,拉了公正党的黄华西,出战泗里街选区,原本泗里街都有很好人选,如陈则敏博士,龚晶晶专业人士等在520 州选时,代表行动党出战,两位在州选区也只输掉几十票至几百票而已,照理由这两位同志出战泗里街选区是最理想的候选人,从这两位选出一位代表都没问题,也是敌对党最怕的人选,可是偏偏两位都被割爱,突然接受由公正党跳过来行动党的黄华西?而引起了党内各支部的不和及不满!加上人民对党的策略引起猜疑,就对党失去了信心! 加上黄锦河的到处去站台,搞局,联合国阵候选人,来配合攻击党候选人等这什么不会败阵下来呢?这次由黄和联领导的行动党砂州委员会,所选出七人小组,来决定出战 国会的候选人,黄和联等手操候选人决定权! 对他不属意者,找借口干掉!说他没做功课,然而他自己功课做到如何?选民会知道的,520 州选胜利后,他在媒体上宣布,有打州的,国会就不可打,有打国会的州也不可打? 这是什么逻辑?此话犹在耳边,曾几何时说出的话,这次最后选出了一个安全区宣布自己上阵? 在党内他的狡辩人尽皆知,对党内同志专业人士,高知识份子,心有妒忌,想尽各种手段来打压,排除异己,找借口摸黑自己同志,尽其能力,安排他属意的人选来出战他认为不会威胁到他自己选区的同志,如泗里街事件。 当党已决定出战的七位同志在媒体上手勾手团结一致的相片曝光后,在此重要时刻他又偷偷地与公正党谈条件? 党中央的委任状早已发给他去宣布,他总是在卖关子,迟迟不宣布让焦急的古晋所有的领袖像在热锅上的蚂蚁。据悉要温利山放弃打实旦宾!改由公正党的施志豪出战!这突如其来的消息,震怒了选区人民,及平时跟随利山多年东征西讨的工作同志的大力反对!在此时关键时刻,才同意让公正党来搞局成三角战!拖住温利山的选票,给予杨昆贤最后胜出,这不是一场交易是什么?事实证明,在竞选时公正党与国阵一唱一和,利用圣马丁事件,大力攻击温利山。反而看不到行动党的领导与公正党的领袖,对杨昆贤的攻击,作出批评和反击,让温利山单枪匹马来面对这场残酷的斗争!这证明了什么?原本在一些心胸狭小及利益至上的人来领军,把党的前途路线,理想都抛在脑后,在玩弄政治游戏,把人民当傻瓜!就是这么样,温利山白白输掉了实旦宾选区!但盼利山同志鼓起勇气,排除万难,坚守岗位,再接再厉,更努力在选区工作,总有一天这个选区是属于行动党的!大选结束后领军的黄和联是否应辞职谢罪?砂州行动党早在观仰时期,就强调要进军乡区,时到今日,领导也在谈,要进军乡区,壮大党组织,招收更多土著党员,设立更多乡区支部等等,但只是讲讲罢了。总是不敢真正联络土著,原因是不相信土著,认为土著会被收买等等的恐惧症,怕大量土著进入,领导会受影响,如前年刚成立的西连支部,在成立时领导干部都热烈出席盛况一时,曾几何时的热闹。如今也只是云花一现也,如今党对西连支部也冷落下来,而公正党的阴魂一直在向西连同志招手!领导总是担心这个,又担心那个,没有找出正确建立民族基地的崇高愿望,只是一直在牛角尖钻,什么会比得上。我们也不能整天都守住几个华人选区,你会肯定守住一辈子吗?让公正党到处招兵买马,好坏兼收的策略,有朝一日实力壮大了,都会直冲行动党的任何华人选区!到时行动党将何去何从,这要看当今党领导是否固步自封?自私自利的态度? 或一到选举时把党当着一个棋只,与对方玩政治游戏?如果真是这样党将会被这些人毁掉唉!

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Anonymous said...
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Atuk said...

i am abidayuh myself. yes it is true the term of land dayak and sea dayak is not relevance anymore. we are natives but is it true? we are the 2nd hand bumiputra (no offence) only. The term dayak is more suitable.