Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

PBS: Do not use the State Ordinance for political mileage

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today warned the Parti Warisan-led government to refrain from ‘playing’ with the State Ordinance for its political expediency.

“Do not touch or play around with the State Ordinance, especially on the definition of natives, just for your political expediency, lest they want to incur the wrath of genuine Sabah citizens.

“You cannot simply amend the Ordinance at one's whim and fancy to include other unqualified races to be categorised as natives,” said PBS President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, responding to a statement by Law and Native Affairs minister Datuk Aidi Moktar (centre) to consider including the two ethnic groups - Bugis and Javanese, under the Sabah native definition.

Describing the issue as sensitive, the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) deputy president said an extensive consultation at the grassroots level should be carried out.

“We demand that the Warisan runs a referendum to obtain the views and voices all Sabahans. The Warisan State Government must not simply distort or bulldoze the rights and protective laws meant for Sabah Natives and the Sabah people at large.

“These laws were meant for peace and prosperity of all Sabahans. We, in PBS, suspect there is a grand design to distort the Sabah political landscape and cause racial imbalance for their political purpose.

“If the Warisan Government insists on bulldozing its proposed law changes and distortion, there must be extensive consultation with all parties at the grassroots level,” he said.

Ongkili said just because a particular community had been in Sabah before the formation of Malaysia, it does not qualify them to be natives of Sabah.

“Over the decades, many British, Indians and Chinese have settled in the then North Borneo, some even before 1963, and became citizens of Sabah after the formation of Malaysia, but this does not qualify them to become natives of North Borneo. The Constitution of Sabah and Ordinances pertaining to the definition and rights of natives clearly spelt out this matter,” he said.

He added that since 1963, respective governments of Sabah had always respected this provision and never intruded the legal protection of the Sabah natives.

“So why does the current government administration suddenly want to disturb and cause havoc to these natives protection and rights? The word ‘Native’ simply means original or indigenous to the land or territory. In Botany when we say "this plant is native to the land", it means it's original to the locality: it is not imported,” Ongkili stressed.

Ongkili further: “With the highest of respect to my colleagues, friends and even some in-laws from the Bugis and Javanese communities: they are not natives of Sabah. And whether they are qualified citizens of Malaysia, my answer is: Yes, they may be Bumiputera, but not natives.”

The Kota Marudu Member of Parliament said that available government records and literature, tracing back to the then Chartered Company government clearly prove that the Bugis and Javanese communities are not native to the land of North Borneo.

“History dictates they are migrants from other parts of Borneo and Nusantara / Indonesian Archipelago,” he said.