By Queville To, Free Malaysia Today
KOTA KINABALU: The state government's reluctance to lift the freeze on the issuance of “native certificates” has come under scrutiny by opposition politicians.Sepangar MP Eric Majimbun has questioned the real agenda behind the almost 30-year freeze on the “sijil anak negeri (SAN) also known as “native certificate”, which was frozen since the Berjaya government era back in 1982.
He suspected that this could just be an attempt by the state government to safeguard certain individuals, especially foreigners who managed to gain native title land using their new status after they became Malaysian citizens and natives thnrough dubious means.
He cited the case of Kedah-hailed Syed Kechik Syed Mohamed Al-Bukhary, the former Sabah strongman-cum-close aide of former chief Minister Mustapha Harun, who managed to purchase many parcels of prime native lands in the state using his native certificate.
“Among the prime lands purchased by the late Syed Kechik are the present site of Universiti Malaysia Sabah which he later sold back to the Sabah Foundation, and several other pieces in Telipok,” Majimbun said in a statement here yesterday.
He was responding to the statement by State Local Government and Housing Minister Hajiji Mohd Noor on Wednesday that the state government was in no hurry to lift the freeze on the issuance of native certificates to avoid a recurrence of abuses as witnessed prior to the freeze in 1982.
Hajiji said that both the government and people must be rational and not emotional in this matter as the possible consequences could far-reaching.
No interest in natives
Majimbun, who is also a deputy president of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), however, said Hajiji was making up excuses given that the BN government had put the spotlight on the issue by deciding to revoke a Sabahan's native status.
He said that it was a fact that the freeze on the native certificate has affected two generations of bona fide Sabahans who were born of mixed parentage.
They included the Sino-Kadazan or Dusun, Indian-Kadazan or Dusun, Sino-Murut, Pakistan-Bajau, American-Murut, English-Brunei, Arab-Idahan, Filipino-Kadazan and similar cases.