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Definition of  native: Sabah  looking at  proposed  amendment
Published on: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

PENAMPANG: The Sabah Law and Native Affairs Ministry has begun looking at the proposed amendment to the State’s Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 64) to clearly define who indigenous people are, said its Assistant Minister Jannie Lasimbang (pic).  

She said discussions on the matter have started, including on the setting up of a committee comprising relevant government agencies and stakeholders, as was raised and requested at the State-level International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2019, here, last Saturday.

“Yes, that was the proposal (for the Law and Native Affairs Ministry to set up the said committee) during the forum. So far, there is a discussion between the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and his counterpart at another ministry) on how the process will be,” she told reporters at a Aidiladha celebration and community policing programme at the Penampang District Police Headquarters, here, Monday. 



Lasimbang, who is also Kapayan Assemblywoman, said the previous administration tried to push the amendment to the State’s Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance to clearly define indigenous people but there are still issues to be ironed out.

“The new State Government wants to see if it is still relevant or not. The problem is the current interpretation (definition of native) is too general and many said there should be a list of Sabah natives. 

“But we at the Ministry still do not have the opportunity to look at this during this one year (under the new State Government) because we have been busy with the appointment of new customary chiefs, confirmation of native chiefs and training of the customary chiefs.

“We have not had the opportunity to do a review of the proposed Bill on the interpretation that was made previously. But we have looked at the other laws,” she said, adding all the proposals from the said forum had been brought by Deputy Chief Minister cum Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau to the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s attention.

Tangau, in his welcoming speech during the launching of the State-level World Indigenous People’s Day 2019 that was officiated by Shafie, said the participants of the forum wanted the definition of native to be reviewed by a committee comprising representatives of all concerned stakeholders. 

“The definition of native was the hottest issue talked about during the forum. As it is, the definition on who is categorised as native is not that consistent,” said Tangau, citing political intervention and political interests on the matter. 

“Thus far, it is under the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance (Sabah Cap.64). The forum wants this definition to be re-studied by a committee participated by representatives from all the stakeholders,” he said. 

He said the forum also had a lengthy discussion on the worries about the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah, adding their concerns were on the tendency of illegals getting documents easily and illegally that allowed them to qualify as indigenous people.  

 



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