I was shocked when I read the newspaper today regarding how a person is perceived as a bumiputera or otherwise in Sarawak. You can read the original article, Being â€˜mixedâ€™ is no privilege.
Before I go further, this post is not about pointing finger or to create any racial issue, so please read it carefully before you contribute your “smart” inputs. Also, please do not bring up the religion issue because it’s not related to this post, this post is about race, not religion. Not only that, being a Sarawakian doesn’t mean you are a bumiputera.
I’m just sharing the way I look at this matter for being a person who is of mixed parentage. I’m not a bumiputera because my father is Chinese and my mother is Bidayuh. Everyone knows, for my case I cannot be considered one and I have no complain about it. I fill in formal forms stating that I’m Chinese because my father is Chinese, I cannot fill in the forms saying that I’m Bidayuh because my name doesn’t reflect that at all. I’m not entitle to the privilege that a bumiputera can enjoy.
Let’s go back to the news article.
All these while, majority of us think that if a child’s father is a bumiputera, he/she will automatically be one regardless of the mother’s race in Sarawak. However, this news article told us that we are wrong! DEAD WRONG!
Sarawak â€“ â€œJika bapa dan ibu adalah seorang Peribumi Sarawak seperti mana yang ditakrifkan dalam Perkara 161A(6)(b) Perlembagaan persekutuan; maka anaknya adalah dianggap seorang Bumiputera.â€ (If the father and mother is a native of Sarawak as defined under Article 161A(6)(b) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputera).
â€œI think to solve this problem. Article 161(A) of the Federal Constitution has to be amended. The article says that in Sarawak, both parents have to be â€˜exclusivelyâ€™ a native,â€ Ronnie said.
So for those that are affected by this, I know many! Inter-racial marriage is very common here in Sarawak. All these while, these children with bumiputera fathers and non-bumiputera mothers are known as bumiputeras by majority of us and even in school too.
Their fathers are bumiputeras, they carry bumiputera’s names, and they mostly follow the bumiputera’s lifestyles. Even in filling in formal forms for various applications be it government or non-government related, they are stating their race as either Bidayuh, Iban, Melanau… Instead of Chinese or India. Now, with the news article, they are supposed to be the same race as their mothers’ not their fathers’. All these while, they are filling in the wrong field!?!?
Think of it another way, this will indirectly reduce the number of bumiputeras in Sarawak because these children are not considered as bumiputeras. As we all know, being a bumiputera, you have many privileges. I have many friends that are of mixed parentage whereby the fathers are bumiputeras but not their mothers. They’ve been enjoying all these privileges with no issues at all. They also proudly known themselves as bumiputeras. However, according to the Federal Constitution, they are not qualified for all these privileges at all. Then, how come they get to enjoy it?
Very confusing. The more I write, the more I reason, the more confusing I’m getting.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that, in Sarawak, these children are not considered bumiputeras even though their fathers are. How sad? How odd?
I’m pretty sure there are many people that are affected or not affected are as shock as I am, if not for the news article, we will still be thinking that as long that the child’s father is a bumiputera, he/she is automatically a bumiputera. Sarawak is indeed different from other state. Very complicated. Very unique too.
As for 1 Malaysia? Hmmm… I can never understand how this whole thing works, it baffles the hell out of me. Guess maybe I’m just too stupid to understand.
To me, when you are talking about 1 Malaysia, it should be making everyone equal rather than having differences of privileges because of different races, religions, or states. Everyone should have the same rights too. If not how can we call ourselves as being one? Summore with this article about mixed parentage whereby a person is not a bumiputera if the mother is not a bumiputera. It’s even harder to achieve this 1 Malaysia thing.
I don’t see that it’s possible to make everyone equal in Malaysia. At least not now, maybe 100 years or more later which I surely won’t be here to see it.
However, I know that in Malaysia, Sarawak is one good role model in terms of racial harmony whereby all races live harmoniously together and you can even find a Malay stall next to a kolomee stall. Non Malays and Malays having their kopi sharing the same table in a non-halal kopitiam, non Malays eating their kolomee and Malays eating their mee goreng on the same table, sometimes sharing food from the same plate and happily chit chatting with each other. Where can you see such scene?