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Sabah BN shamed over Wong’s ‘nativity’ issue

 | July 26, 2011

Its been a year since Sabah formed a special commission to investigate the "native" status of Sri Tanjung Assemblyman Jimmy Wong (DAP), but todate nothing has happened.

TAWAU: The tussle between opposition assemblyman Jimmy Wong and the state government over his ‘bumiputera’ status appears to have reached a stalemate with the state government reluctant or unable to move the prickly issue forward.

“They are fighting a losing battle. They will have to take me to court if they want to disqualify my bumiputera-status,” Wong, who is a Sino-Kadazan, told FMT recently.

When the issue was first raised by Sabah Umno assemblymen in 2009, Wong, who is Sri Tanjung assemblyman, described it as a waste of time and public funds and indeed it has turned out as such.

“Of course they went and put me under a commission of inquiry. They set up a special commission just to investigate this.

“I sent my Native Certificate (‘Sijil Anak Negeri’) and then they called me for an interview and asked me how I got the certificate.

“I told them: how would I know? I said (to the special commission) you should ask my mother as she was the one who witnessed everything.

“I mean she testified in front of seven native chiefs, not one or two, and that was 30 years ago. One chief is still alive.

“I told them (the commission); Why don’t you go ask him?” said Wong.

Wong said what was most important to him was the authencity of his nativity certificate.

“I was more concerned about the document. I asked (the commission) if my certificate was genuine or false or duplicated?

“He (commission chairman) said it’s genuine.

“Then I told him if genuine you better send it back to me or otherwise you take me to court,” he said.

No case

In the end the commission chairman agreed to return Wong his certificate which was deemed to be genuine.

But when the matter was invoked again in the state assembly by Sekong assemblyman Samsudin Yahya, who asked as to the outcome of the investigation, Local Government and Housing Minister Hajiji Haji Noor declared that Wong was not qualified to hold the ceritificate.

Hajiji’s ministry also overseas all matter pertaining to the interpretation of the native laws as well as native courts.

“This time when Samsudin asked about my certificate again, I fired him back. I was not going to be bullied.

“I asked him if it was true he was born in the Philippines and he had got his IC through the Project IC (an alleged project whereby thousands of illegal immigrants were granted citizenship despite not qualifying for it).

“That shook him. He (Samsudin) immediately claimed that he is a relative of the TYT (Head of State) but that is not the point.

“Why does he hide behind the TYT?

“I said (to the assembly that) the PTI (the Bahasa Malaysian acronym for new immigrants) have already entered into the Dewan through Project IC,” Wong said.

Declaring himself a ‘genuine Sabahan’ Wong said if taken to court, he would win.

“What are they (Hajiji and Samsudin) talking about?

“I am a genuine Sabahan and I was born and raised here in a kampung in Kota Marudu in the Kadazan community.

“This (issue) is settled already. Nobody can touch me. They want to go to court, go lah,” he said.

1982 status valid

Since the last assembly sitting however, no further action has been initiated by the ruling government.

Wong, on his part, is still waiting.

He said the current rule was that any declaration of bumi status made before 1982 was valid.

“The Syed Kecik case is a landmark case. And the rule is that in any bumi issue before 1982 are all (declared) valid.

“No court can interfere. Only after a certain period then the High Court can entertain.

“But if the decision by the Native Court is conclusive then no one can argue,” he said.


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