LAWAS (February 13): Amendments to four articles of the Federal Constitution relating to the rights of Sabah and Sarawak, including the deletion of clause 7 of Article 161A, raise hopes that the Kiput ethnic group will finally be recognized as a native and indigenous in the state.
This is the view of Sarawak Lakiput Association President Gabriel Karl Wing who said recognition of the ethnic group as native or indigenous in Sarawak and Malaysia has been a long struggle.
“We fully welcome the amendments to the Federal Constitution as disclosed by Minister of Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in today’s news.
“I think the amendments bring not only hope for the Kiput ethnic group, but also for the Sabans, Berawans and other minority groups in Sarawak,” he said yesterday in Kuala Lumpur.
Gabriel also called on the state government to amend the 2005 Interpretation Order to go with the four amendments to the Federal Constitution.
“In the 2005 Interpretation Ordinance (Schedule, Section 3), Kiput is not among the breeds considered indigenous or native to Sarawak.
“And not just the Kiputs. The Berawan, Saban and some other minority groups in Sarawak are also not listed as native or indigenous in the 2005 Interpretation Order (Schedule, Section 3),” he said.
Dr Wan Junaidi had described a day earlier that Act A1642 was very significant and the long-awaited ‘good news’ for the people of Sarawak and Sabah as it restored them as equal partners within Malaysia in the framework of the MA63.
He said the amendments, enshrined in the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2022, entailed listing the states of the Federation in clause 2 of section 1; the definition of Federation and the new definition of Malaysia Day in clause 2 of Article 160; the indigenous races of Sarawak in clause (6) (a) of section 161A; and the deletion of clause 7 of article 161A. of the States of the Federation in clause 2 of article 1; the definition of Federation and the new definition of Malaysia Day in clause 2 of Article 160; the indigenous races of Sarawak in clause (6) (a) of section 161A; and the deletion of clause 7 of section 161A.
Under the amendments, the indigenous status of the people of Sarawak and Sabah will no longer be decided by the federal government, but by the Sarawak government and the Sabah government through their own constitutions.