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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sabah BN govt in 'no hurry' to reinstate native certs

BY FMT Staff

TUARAN: The Barisan Nasional government in Sabah is in no hurry to indulge the opposition'sc incessant bandying of the “native” issue and its demand to reinstate the native certificates which was put on freeze by the Berjaya government in 1982.

Urging Sabahans not to be emotional, Local Government and Housing Minister Hajiji Noor said any action to reinstate the native certificates must be “thoroughly thought out”.

"The Berjaya government must have had good reasons for freezing it (native certificates). Even the PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) government did not lift it.

"As such, any action we now take must be carefully thought out. We must weigh the consequences... it could be far-reaching," he said.

Hajiji was commenting on recent calls by the opposition to get freeze lifted.

"We do what we think is right for the people and not just because the opposition says so," he said.

The issue of native certificates came to the forefront following the controversy involving Sabah DAP chief Jimmy Wong's “native” status after it was raised by BN-Sekong assemblyman Samsudin Yahya in the state assembly in November last year.

Sabah DAP had pointed out that while the issuance of the native certificate was frozen by the Berjaya government in 1982, the PBS administration under Joseph Pairin Kitingan had done nothing to help such natives during its nine-year rule of the state from 1985.

The exchange of barbs between DAP and PBS leaders has caused much discomfort among members of the “Sino-native” community which has been thrust into the limelight.

Noting that the state government only issued native certificates to natives, Hajiji said: "It is not correct to say that the state is depriving the rights of Sino-natives or children of other mixed parents just because we have not lifted the freeze.

"As I had announced quite sometime ago, those who are eligible and are seeking to buy native land or investing in ASB can always go to the State Bumiputra Affairs Office to get their status endorsed.

"This stop-gap measure has benefited many half-natives," he said.

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