Chong proposes amending ‘Dayaks’ to accord it legal standing
KUCHING: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen is proposing to amend at the next State Legislative Assembly sitting the interpretation of the word ‘Dayaks’ and accord the legal standing to encompass all indigenous groups in Sarawak except the Malays.
He said this was crucial in view of the intense discontentment among indigenous people in Sarawak for being referred to as ‘lain-lain’ (others) in official government forms.
Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP, told a media conference at the DAP office here yesterday that he had sent a notice of motion for leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill with regards to the matter in the April 21-29 State Legislative Assembly sitting.
“My notice of motion for leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled ‘Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance (Amendment) Bill, 2015’ has been faxed and sent to the DUN secretary today (yesterday) for further action,” he said.
He explained that under the proposed bill races which were now considered indigenous to Sarawak and natives within the meaning of the ordinance should only be divided into two races, namely Dayaks and Malays.
“Under the proposed Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2015 the word Dayaks shall include Bidayuhs (Land Dayaks), Bukitans, Berawans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Ibans (Sea Dayaks), Kedayans, Kelabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and Kanowits), Lakiputs, Lugats, Lisums, Melanaus (originally spelt as Melanos), Muruts or Lun Bawangs, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns, Terings, Ukits and any admixture of these sub-ethnic groups with each other,” he added.
He said it was the wishes of the large majority of the natives of Sarawak to be unified as one race called ‘Dayaks’ and that the term ‘Dayaks’ be accorded the legal standing of the word to encompass all the different indigenous groups in Sarawak with the exception of Malays.
Chong said it was his hope that the proposed Bill would be passed by the house although it might be ‘hijacked’ or ‘adopted’ by BN members or ministers like in the past.
“Well, if they want to make some amendments to the bill and make it theirs it is okay with me for as long as the gist of it must still be there,” he said.