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The rights and special status of ‘natives’ should only belong to the people of Sabah: Upko Youth

By Chris Maskilone

KOTA KINABALU: Upko Youth Chief Felix Joseph Saang sternly objects to any party’s proposal to classify Bugis and Jawa as Anak Negeri (natives) in Sabah.

“This has nothing to do with us being racist. This is an extremely sensitive issue as the Constitution clearly states that the Bugis and Jawa are not natives of the state.

“Personally, I think that Sabah has the best example of tolerance and respect among different races. However, there are certain limits that needs to be adhered,” he said here today.

Felix Joseph Saang. SNT File Pix

Felix said, “based on the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance (Sabah Cap 64) it was clear that the Bugis and Jawa communities are not natives of Sabah.”

“Their position is similar to the other races that migrated to Malaysia from other countries.

“We are not questioning their citizenship status because some of them have stayed here long before the formation of Malaysia.

“But, we concurred with our president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau that the Bugis and Jawa communities are simply not natives of Sabah. They originated from Indonesia really,” he said.

Felix said in order for a Native Chief to really function, he or she must have a deep understanding of the native’s customs and laws.

He said in Semenanjung Malaysia, the question of whether the Bugis and Jawa communities could be accorded Anak Negeri status does not arise.

“It is irrelevant since the Native Court institution is unique to Sabah. There is no neccesity to appoint a Bugis or Javanese Ketua Anak Negeri in Semenanjung,” he said.

He was commenting on the heavily debated issue of native certification for the Bugis and Jawa communities in Sabah.

It was reported that Law and Native Affairs Minister Datuk Aidi Moktar on last Friday in Tawau had suggested that the two communities would be accorded Native status.

Aidi had since clarified his statement, while Parti Warisan Sabah has stated that it was Aidi’s personal opinion.-SabahNewsToday