Wednesday, October 5

Lawyer questions rights of mixed heritage Sarawakians to inherit, buy native land


Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING (Sept 23): The Sarawak government has been asked to clarify the rights of mixed heritage Sarawakians to inherit or purchase native land in the state.

According to lawyer Voon Shiak Ni, transfers of property categorised as native land require the attachment of the transferee’s birth certificate to prove both parents are Sarawak natives.

“Our legal firm has just managed the processing of a transfer of land categorised as native land last month and our office was asked to submit the birth certificates of the buyers of the said parcel of land to prove that their parents are both natives of Sarawak.

“In our case, both the parents are natives of Sarawak and are not children of mixed marriages. But what will happen if one of the parents is a non-native?” she questioned in a statement today.

Voon pointed out mixed marriages in Sarawak are not uncommon and a sizable percentage of Sarawakians are of mixed heritage.

She said as such the amendment to Article 161A of the Federal Constitution is very much welcome and a long-awaited positive move for the unity of all races in Sarawak.

According to her, mixed marriages is the way forward to eradicate racial discrimination as well as promote unity and mutual respect among all ethnic groups in Sarawak.

“According to (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in a media report last year, we were told that Sarawakians of mixed marriages between natives and non-natives can now purchase and own native land in Sarawak and an amendment to Article 161A of the Federal Constitution for the purpose has been made and approved in Parliament. Children of mixed marriages are also allowed to own native land, including inheriting customary rights land,” she said.

However, she claimed buyers or inheritors of native land still need to prove that both their parents are natives of Sarawak as they need to produce their birth certificates during the processing of registration of transfers of native land.