Saturday, January 24, 2009

Those Born to Native Mothers are Natives

There seems to be a policy in the National Registration Department (NRD) to register children who are half natives as non-natives. For example if the father is a Chinese, Indian or Filipino and the mother is Kadazandusun, the child would be recorded as being a Chinese, Indian or Filipino.

This is despite the fact that the Chinese, Indian or Filipino father might have embraced the language and culture of their wives and their children live in a native environment.

Would the NRD record children born to Malay mothers and Chinese fathers as Chinese? Or the children born to Malay mothers and Indian fathers as Indians? If no, then this is clearly double standards on the NRD's part.

The NRD's practise is contrary to Article 161 (6) (b) of the Federal Constitution which defines the Natives as :

"in relation to Sabah, a person who is a citizen, is the child or grandchild of a person of a race indigenous to Sabah, and was born (whether on or after Malaysia Day or not) either in Sabah or to a father domiciled in Sabah at the time of the birth."

This clearly shows that children who are born to Kadazandusun or Murut mothers but have Chinese, Indian or Filipino fathers are natives of Sabah. But by registering the race of these children as Chinese, Filipinos or Indians, they are automatically rendered non-natives.

This is a growing epidemic in Sabah and many Sabahans of Sino-Kadazan, Sino-Murut, Filipino-Kadazan, Filipino-Murut, Indo-Kadazan and Indo-Murut race cannot inherit Native Title (NT) lands that belong or belonged to their mothers.

Is the NRD treating these people this way because they are not Muslims? The time has come for someone to take this issue to court and challenge the NRD as doing something illegal. Illegal because it clearly violates the Federal Constitution!

What is even more disheartening is that these children cannot enjoy the perks meant for natives while those who are clearly non-natives can, even to the extent of getting scholarships to study in universities because they are Muslims.