‘Pure’ UiTM rejects mixed Swk native entry

The Federal and Sarawak governments must decide quickly on the nativity of children from mixed parentage before the issue blows up in their faces in the coming elections.

(Free Malaysia Today) – KUCHING: Nativity is a sensitive issue and the federal government’s interference has once again stirred a hornet. This time its the case of an Iban retiree whose daughter’s application to study in University Teknologi Mara (UiTM) was rejected because her mother is Chinese.

Reminiscent of the 2009 case involving another student Marina Undau, the dilemma facing children of mixed native parentage is back to haunt Sarawakians even as the ruling Barisan Nasional here and in the peninsular face a grueling impending general election

Esther Bartholomew’s father is an Iban fron Nanga Bunut in Kanowit district and mother Chinese.  Her application to UiTM was rejected as she is considered non-Iban.

Reacting to this, Sarawak PKR Chief Baru Bian appealed to both the Federal and State governments to amend the Federal and Sarawak constitutions in respect to the offspring of mixed parentage (native and non-native couples).

“The law must be clear on this. You recall this was a big issue about Marina Undau a few years back. You recall I brought it up in the last sitting of the State Assembly, and our stand then and  now is that the law on this (issue) must be made clear.

“It is important that the law – the Federal and State constitutions –  be amended in order to make it very clear (on the status of children from mixed native parentage),” he added.

Repeat incident

Bian, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman said when he had raised the issue in the assembly in 2009, he was told that ” it was a (Federal) cabinet decision.”

“I told them (the assembly) then that it will not prevent the same incident occuring in the future.

“Now exactly the same problem, the  same scenario has happened again.

“We are calling for amendments to the relevant laws to make it very clear  otherwise you are dealing with the matter piece by piece, which will cause  lot of problems and trauma for others like Esther. Now her entry to university will be delayed again for another term or another year,” he said.

Bian is calling for amendments to Article 161 A of the Federal Constitution.

Article 161 A defines  ‘native’  in relation to Sarawak as: “a person whom 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 those races;

“(Clause 7):  The races to be treated for the purposes of definition of ‘native’ in Clause (6) as 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, Tanjongs and Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Malanos, Murut, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits”.

(Sea Dayak, Land Dayak and Murut have since been changed to Iban, Bidayuh and Lun Bawang respectively).