Thursday, November 5

Let us discuss Dayak Dilemma

KUCHING – Former president of Sarawak Dayak National Union Datuk Daniel Tajem has called all Dayak non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA), Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) to organise a seminar on the Marina issue as well as on Articles 161a of the Federal Constitution.

“Let us discuss these issues and submit resolutions to the government especially on the clear definitions of Dayak, Iban, Bidayuh and Lun Bawang in the Federal and State Constitutions as well as in the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance,” said Tajem, who is a lawyer of some standing.

“We must come together and discuss these issues which are very important to our survival and the privileges and rights that should be accorded to us under the Constitutions.

“Otherwise we will be further marginalized, suppressed and oppressed in the country of our birth,”
he added and called on the Dayak NGOs to accept the challenge posed by him.

Marina Undau is not alone. Tens of thousands of other natives in Sarawak who come from mixed marriages cannot be classified as natives (bumiputra) even though their fathers are Dayaks, if the Article 161a (6) (a) Federal Constitution is to be imposed.

161a(6) says that in this Article ‘native’ means (a) in relation to Sarawak, a person who 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; and (b) in relation to Sabah, a person 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.

(7) The races to be treated for the purpose of the definition of ‘native’ in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabit, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups, and Sipengs), Kajangs, (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and Kanowit), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanaus, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.

Since Marina’s story was highlighted by a local newspaper on 29 October that she was not a native (bumiputra) even though she was born to an Iban father and a Chinese mother, thousands of the off-springs from these mixed marriages are worried as they will not (from now onward) be entitled to privileges as spelt out in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. Their investments in ASB, their privileges of scholarships, applications to study in UiTM, special rates to buy houses, special consideration in business and contracts, native customary rights over land, and etc may not apply to them.

Debates and discussions on the issue in coffee-shops, in offices, in newspapers and internets, in some cases bordering sedition, have sprung up from various quarters including Chinese, Malay and Dayak leaders. While some have put the blame on the Ministry of Education, others put the blame on our political leaders. There are those who also blame the pioneers of the Malaysian Agreement.

Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Joseph Salang, described as “narrow-minded” the officers who rejected Marina’s application to enter a matriculation programme by citing the provision in the constitution.

Salang, who is Publicity Officer of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), said that Malaysia could do without these officers who were creating tension and disunity in the country.

“Whoever cited the provision does not understand it well. These officers need further education,” he told a local paper.

The MP for Serian, Richard Riot, used equally strong words to describe the rejection of Marina’s application as a “sick policy stuck in a time warp”, viewing the case as “very serious, because if the policy is allowed to remain in place it not only will make a big joke of the 1Malaysia concept, but many children of such mixed marriages are going to lose their Bumiputra status, despite the facts that they are Dayaks and live the life of Dayaks.”

“This is one unhealthy development that I see is a step backward, while the nation seeks to unite Malaysians through all kinds of means like creating the National Unity and Integration Department, celebrating open houses, encouraging Malaysians to mix and mingle and lauding the many mixed marriages among Malaysians.

“The Federal Constitution needs to be amended. Bidayuh people like me, who are proud of our race and are strong supporters of Barisan Nasional, will go extinct if this is allowed to continue,” he said.

PRS president James Masing, who is Land Development Minister said that it was shameful that admission into local universities is still based on race rather than merit.

“Such methods do not sit well with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s concept of 1Malaysia,” he said.

Peter Minos, chairman of Bun Bratak Heritage Association, on the other hand believes that Marina is an Iban and Bumiputra, saying “this is universally the case, law or law or if the law is silent. Someone in the Ministry of Education is very wrong.”

Marina is a Dayak Iban, Minos said, and she should be given access to the best education. She is able and willing, like all the struggling Bidayuhs and Orang Ulu from the rural areas, to further her education.

“It is scandalous to deny a poor Dayak kid a good life through education,” he said.

The newly appointed Chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak and a lawyer, Baru Bian said that all Sarawakian children should be given free education up to university level irrespective of their racial background.

“It is a shame for Sarawak with its wealth and abundant natural resources that children of low income earning families are deprived of education due to financial constraints,” he said, accusing the Barisan Nasional’s racist policies they profess are causes of increasing racial division in the country.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that huge political and social-economic ramifications if the Bumiputra status of children in Sarawak, who are born to Bumiputra fathers and non-Bumiputra mothers, are not ratified.

These privileges included land purchases, holding Bumiputra shares in Amanh Saham Bumiputra (ASB) besides education, he said.

But Erang Ngang, Sarawak National Kenyah Association Vice chairman said: “Do not blame the Education Ministry’s officers for rejecting Marina’s application for university matriculation. It is the fault of the Federal Constitution.”

Erang who is married to a Chinese and his son who scored 8A1 and 1B in SPM 2003 was denied a scholarship for reasons which he suspected, is the same as Marina’s.

“The education officer who handled Marina’s application did nothing wrong as the definition of Bumiputra in Sarawak is very clear in the constitution. If this definition is not amended, children of mixed parentage will continue to suffer discrimination in terms of business, government jobs, promotions and other privileges reserved for Bumiputras alone,” he said.

Commenting on the Marina issue, former State Attorney General JC Fong highlighted three points: Firstly, that the Federal Laws are supreme and prevail over state laws. Secondly, the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance defines the term ‘native’ the way as the Federal Constitution. And his third point, he said that it is possible to change both constitutions through proper procedure.

What are the solutions?

Many talk about amending both the Federal and the State Constitutions as the way to ensure that children born from Dayak fathers and non-native mothers be considered as natives or Bumiputra. This should be easy if there is a political will as both BN and Pakatan Rakyat will certainly support the move. Parliament needs a two-third majority to amend that part of the Constitution.

Salang said that he had written to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to recommend Article 161a of the Federal Constitution be amended, otherwise it may cause social and economic complications in the future.

“The time has come to amend Article 161a of the constitution. As society progressed and strived towards achieving the 1Malaysia concept, the issue of ‘Bumiputra’ and ‘non-Bumiputra’ should no longer arise in the future particularly in matters concerning educational opportunities and welfare assistance,” said Deputy Chief Minister George Chan.

Chan, who is also President of the Sarawak United People’s Party, said that if the country keeps on having these sorts of different directions, then our country cannot progress. As Malaysian citizens we must think like 1Malaysia.”

In Sarawak as revealed by Dr. Masing there exists a Cabinet Committee for endorsing Bumiputra status, and the committee which meets once a year and chaired by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has so far approved hundreds of applications with the only criterion that one of the parents must be a native.

The committee gives final endorsement to the applications of those who applied to be natives. But the question is whether what the committee has done so far is in violation of the laws.

Another solution is through Native Court declaration. “We have done it before and many of my relatives who are coming from these mixed marriages have now become natives,” said Tajem.

“You apply to the Court to be declared a native,” he added.

He said: “Our problems today were the result of not properly looking into the contents of the Federal and State Constitutions by the British authorities when we first joined Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia.

“Our Attorney General at that time was a British and he should have seen that our rights are properly protected and
the word Dayak should be properly defined,” he said, pointing out that they could not blame Sarawak’s founding fathers for these “faults”.

“There is no clear definition as to who are Dayaks in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution. There are only words ‘Sea Dayak’ and ‘Land Dayak’. So whether Dayak part can be called Dayak and whether all natives can be defined as Dayaks?’ he asked.

“Dayak is a Bidayuh word means people, and so is the word Iban, a Kayan word, also meaning people,” he said.

The word ‘Iban’ was adopted in place of Sea Dayak during the 1957 Penghulu Conference.

Tajem said that the Federal and State Constitutions as well as the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance need to be amended together, he said. – The Broken Shield



chapchai said...

First of all, ascertain if Taib's children are classed as bumiputras.

adbdin said...

There is no such thing to look into further details regarding this BUMIPUTERA issues.

DO IT RIGHT NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!

DAMN with the Federal Constitution which has been so long existed but never been look into properly by the Sarawak Government.

WHAT matter now is our right of native who was born and live in Sarawak was and it is a BUMIPUTERA.

1Malay is going to write us off in future and if not mistaken it has taken place now and today.

No wonder all this while we are only bunch of fugitive who is going to beg for our own identity.

Does Malaysia good enough for us to live in with?

Scrap off all the comments and these unfit YB's in Sarawak Government has to admit their false and take action or the challenge immediately on these matter and start pushing the changes now.

Till now no one or event federal government can stop these culprits YB's from making any wrong doing and why all the sudden regarding these issue need to be consent from other party.


Anonymous said...

what about badawi who is of mix parent!what about all those malays who marry chinese and other races!

This is clearly putting the 18 point agreement into the shredding machine.

The dayak knows very well that they are the ones who always marginalized and yet their leaders kept on asking all to vote for BN.birds of the same feathers flock together.


Anonymous said...

If that article says what it says, then Taib's Children ARE NOT AND WILL NEVER BE Bumiputras. Correct me if I am wrong but these mixed marrianges are the very least of the problems.Some even face problems when both parents are "natives" and they still do not benefit. I will not be quick to condone or agree without contemplating and meditating on subject removing such special rights. AND it is not a secret that even by and with the definitions of those articles (people who fall under those categories) do not benefit EVER,from the Bumiputra rights. It has been placed there to serve as a tool of exploit for Elitists,in which they ARE abused to extend their "families'" power,very similar to the old aristocracy systems where the child inherits his or her father's or mother's political position or power. In all fairness I am Iban,and "do not fall under the bumiputra category" simply because my father is Iban (both parents are iban),and my mother is Iban (BUT one of her parent isnt so that makes her non bumi according to the article). Now then, shall the ruling powers further insult me by saying to my face that I am not Dayak or Bumi and I MUST go to court if I insist that I am Bumiputra? No,I refuse! I am Iban and I am Dayak! If many of you think the word dayak is offensive,I will not apologize for it; I am Dayak and I am damn proud of it. (removing Dayak because it is deemed offensive will further divide US ALL,think about it). I am supporting the abolishment of Bumiputra rights,BUT before all of you scream at the top of your head at me, This is what I think should be done. EVERYONE IS TREATED JUSTLY REGARDLESS OF CREED OR RACE, BUMIPUTRA RIGHTS SHOULD BE REPLACED WITH A SOCIAL SYSTEM THAT HELPS FAMILIES WITH a very low amount of annual income or lower. I will be the first to admit that this social system is not perfect but it at least gives everyone a chance to be educated or helped. WIth that said, Again i do not condone the acts of sloth/pure laziness where you would just wait for handouts.No, what I am saying is simply and establishment of an "evaluation" process of qualifying for subsidies. If you can afford it then I'm sorry you dont get it, if you cant afford it but you work hard and still do nto have any means to afford it then you will be helped,If you cant afford it simply because you refuse to work then you dont get anything. To some this may sound familiar and yes I have to admit I am impressed with European Social systems ( Similar if not the same as I stated above). Does that sound fair to anyone? Now Im not going to point fingers but,our multi racial adn cultural population have grown envious of other races aside from their own,some may even look down on the other races. I will tell you now that,you are no better than the facist who started world war 2. Have any of you taken into consideration that YOUR LEADERS are GENERALY RICH? Whilst you are still toiling in the mud,working for your family? and yet some of us (me included) blamed the abuse of special rights (which are true) but HAS any of you seen the poor? destitute and only working to survive without even making any profit? Poor farmers,fisherman? who are bumis and should benefit,BUT has never ever ever had the chance to even afford basic education? This is THE ONLY reason why I said a social system will work better than the so call special rights. I've vented some form of frustration to you lots, and I do not mean any disrespect to any veterans here, I am very sure I am much younger than most here,but I speak for the young silent dayaks who are now watching the elders every move. Your turn elders to change things, new young leaders,new ideas, appoint the capable ones, dont just appoint you own relatives (sons or daughters included). You will be surprised at how many of better and capable ones stems out without their parents or relatives being infamous politicians.

The Silent Dayaks

Anonymous said...

From now onwards, all new born babies of Iban parentage should register their race as "SEA DAYAKS"

How can the Federal Constitution be amended when he present BN Gov't don't have 2/3 majority to pass the amendment?

I see the changes in 1957 as a "grand design" which culminated into the changes in the Sarawak Land Code. Federal Constitution is supreme.

If the "claimants" in the NCR land disputes, which are now on-going stated their race as "Iban", what rights they have, because by default they are non "natives" in the eye of the FC of Malaysia. Alah ga kitai. Similarly, even titled Native Area Lands can be confiscated if we put "Iban" as registered proprietor. Again by default, you are not "natives" in the eye of the FC of Malaysia.

What do you think?

Jamal Jarjis

Anonymous said...


I just got words from my cousin-in-law who registered his (he stated his race as Sea Dayak). His spouse is European. When his children were born in London, he filed his children's birth cerification @ Malaysian High Commission. In the form "Iban" was not mentioned. So he put his children as "SEA DAYAK".

Anonymous said...

It is in the Federal Constitution that the problem lies. Amending Article 161A could be the answer, but (i) who are to do it?, (ii) be very careful in this because if the amendment is to follow the 2002 amendment to the Interpretation Ordinance of Sarawak where the word "Dayak" was deleted and replaced by many more sub-dialectal groups, then another problem will arise afterward! Amending Federal Constitution requires a two-third majority of Members of Parliament, and Dayaks don't have this number neither the present Najid government has that. Could opposition in Parliament support BN to amend this? I doubt that because it could become an issue in the forthcoming general election: BN will claim milage for it. And definitely if BN were to propose the amendment the direction will come from Sarawak and in that circumstances the 2002 amendment to Interpretation Ordinance aforesaid will feature in there, and a triump to Jabu, of course. A catch-22 situation! In the meantime what Datuk Daniel Tajem is suggesting is opportune. I agree we should discuss this openly, without acrimony against anyone or against the past elders. And also to discuss how best to describe "Dayak" peoples. Or maybe to put the term "Bumiputra" in the constitution instead of "native". Perhaps this would put us on par with the Malays, excepting the religion.

Proud Sarawakian said...

Bring out the social contract and we'll see the difference of policy stated in the contract and the policy our leaders are practicing

keling ati said...

Thankful to our heroine Marina Undau for highlighting the issue in the media, otherwise the dayaks will be marginalised and bullied forever by irresponsible people. Non of our dayak leaders ever realised the errors or defects in the Constitution since it was in force in 1957.

Now, everybody want to be a champion in the issue hopping that the Federal Constitution could be amended, otherwise those of our dayak leaders including their children and grandchildren who married foreigners and non-bumiputera may lose "bumiputera" status.

Lesley Wan said...

There is no issue.

What is wrong with you people?

What is the point of being bumiputra if everyone else is bumiputra?

The fact is that if they choose to marry a non-bumiputra, they are already disowning the status. Who ask them to disown their own people in the first place.

My father and mother are dayak. I am not the same as Marina. She is a mongrel. She is not pure like me. She is not entitle to have that status because she is not pure.

I urge all sensible and pure dayak to support my call not to change the consitution.

We must promoted marriage among dayaks only. Dayak should not marry none dayak. They are not pure.

They will destroy the race. Stay away. Look at how they destrioy SNAP, PBDS and other dayak parties!

Dayak must stop the attempt to change the constitution.

Leave the real dayak alone.

suntat said...

The dayak women population is less than dayak men`s. I don`t want to share with others.

tsunami unleashed said...

Reading this article over a cup of coffee (with little sugar) i felt a kind of pissed-off and almost spill my coffe over my note book.

Well, simply put. That idiot officer/s who rejected Marina application must has been schooled by those idiot bigot. To those idiot officer/s, my middle finger to you... sorry, its a polite way of being rude rather than i used the four letters.

To my dear malay friends. I am not being racist. But how about those malay married to a chinese? Aren't they considered Bumiputra? Don't tell me they are not. idiot. I am being realistic.

And the sarawak ministers/MP. Where the hell are you all? Don't tell me again that you has no balls to speak up.

To be continued...

Apai Semalau said...

Disgusted! In reply to Lesley Wan, We think he is one very sick dayak that we can do without in Sarawak. A racist living in a hole in modern Sarawak. He/she should be confined to the Mulu caves where he/she can create his/her own breed of "pure dayaks" and remain a dumb bugau! For a start, I find it offensive that this sicko dare called Marina a "mongrel" is just too much to stomach. Apparently, the difference is that a mongrel is anytime more smarter than this sicko.
Back to this issue of "bumiputra" status, why are our dayak and bumi political leaders still harping on gender discrimination? Shouldn't it be that any one parent who's a dayak should entitle the offsprings to dayak status as well. My question is, if the mother is a dayak isn't it fair that the children should be dayak too? Shouldn't "apai" and "indai" by accorded the same status? The laws should be changed to "where either one parent is a dayak the offspring should be accorded dayak status"l. Anyone disagree/object to this suggestion, please speak your mind.

Anonymous said...

We all will be better off if we were to be kick out of the federation.the only way is to call for a referendum. Dare all those dayak leaders if they are with us in calling for a referendum.See how singapore prosper when they leave!a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous said...

Read this:

After reading this article, you will know the truth of the man who taught you to be: ‘Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah’?
In my opinion, 'If you are a tainted leader then forever you are tainted. ………..
UMNO still believes in this man. Why do you want yourself to be misled by such group of man??? Why you still support BN???

Anonymous said...

In west Malaysia or more correctly Malaya, if your mother is malay and your father is any other race/aliens you are consider a malay bumiputra. Don't believe me, simply just ask mamak Mahathir. Are we Sarawakians therefore a colony of Malaya? Its easier to be a malay bumi than a native Sarawak bumi in 1Malaysia!