PETALING JAYA: Sabah Sino Kadazan Dusun Murut Association president Johnny Goh has called for the issuance of native certificates to be revived, but says a mechanism must be put in place to prevent its abuse.
Goh said the native affairs office, which falls under the purview of the state’s housing and local government ministry, must monitor the granting of the certificates.
“Having the native affairs office audit the process of native certificate issuance can eliminate potential abuse by the native courts,” he told FMT.
Typically, district officers serve as the top judicial authorities within the native court system, followed by native and district chiefs.
“District chiefs are appointed by politicians, which makes them subservient to their political superiors and unable to execute their duties responsibly and independently,” he said.
Applications for native certificates go through the native courts, and the verification process may include interviews with various parties, including village chiefs.
Upon being satisfied that all requirements have been fulfilled, the applications are approved by district officers, and the certificates are issued by the native courts.
“The association wants the state government to issue native certificates, which have been frozen since 1982,” said Goh.
Former international trade and industry minister Darell Leiking said the state government should set up a native affairs department at the local level to serve as a check and balance to the native courts.
“We should have enough experience and technology to ensure a mechanism to prevent the abuse of native status. It is just a matter of proper regulation, monitoring and administration,” he told FMT.
The Warisan deputy president emphasised the need to reinstate the issuance of native certificates to Sino natives currently in limbo, adding that “no native should be denied native status”.
Under a special provision approved by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman when he was prime minister, persons identifying with the Sino-Kadazan Dusun Murut community can claim native status if they are the offspring of one native parent and live as a member of the community.
Native certificates allow their holders to enjoy the special rights of Sabah Bumiputeras such as acquiring land, opening Amanah Saham Bumiputera accounts, and enrolling in higher public learning institutions.