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Friday, January 31, 2020

Minister praises efforts to document natives of Chinese descent in Sabah

Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick (centre) holding the Etnik Sino-Native book. With him is Sabah Sino Kadazandusun Murut Association president Johnny Goh (third from left).
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick has lauded efforts to publish a book detailing the traditions and heritage of the Sino-Native community, which is unique to the state.
Entitled “Etnik Sino-Native”, Benedick said the book will be an important document for the present and future generations to understand the customs and culture of this community.
“In my opinion, the heritage, culture and identity of every race in this country must be protected, just like the Sinos should be,” he said, referring to the common term used to refer to the community in Sabah.
The Sino-Natives are Sabahans who have mixed Chinese and Kadazandusun Murut descent.
Benedick, who is also Kadamaian assemblyman, said further studies should be carried out on the Sino-Native culture so it will not be eroded over time.
“Through this book, a total of 15 cultural aspects of the Sino-Native community have been documented, including the ethnic and historical backgrounds, socio-economic activities and age-old customs,” he said after launching the book at a hotel here today.
Benedick praised the Sabah Sino Kadazandusun Murut Association and state Cultural Board for their research in coming up with the book.
The book launch was also attended by the association’s president, Johnny Goh, and other members.
Benedick said the state and federal governments should find the best method to protect the identities of all communities in Malaysia.
“This includes the mixed marriages between Chinese and Indians or the groups like the Kadazan, Dusun, Murut, Chinese or Indians.”
When asked on the native certificate issue, Benedick said the children of parents who already hold the document should automatically obtain the certificate.
“For me, if the parents have native certificates, that means their children need not apply for them any more because, logically, the children and subsequent generations are already anak negeri (natives),” he said.
The native certificate is a touchy issue for the Sino-KDMs who have been trying to get its issuance reinstated after the state decided to freeze the move in 1981 to stop land in Sabah from falling into the hands of non-Sabahans.
The move directly affects Sino-Natives as their Chinese roots do not allow them to enjoy native rights, such as handing down native land to their children. - FMT

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