(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The silence of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah to the current controversy sparked off by the Malacca State Government’s refusal to recognise an Iban, Guyang ak Umar, as a bumiputra for the purpose of registering a bumiputra-allotted shoplot in Malacca, is most disappointing.
Mohtar Abdullah should not continue to be silent and must speak up and state his stand on the issue.
I call on all Iban MPs in Sarawak, who are in the Sarawak Barisan Nasional, to support a DAP motion in Parliament to spell out clearly in the Constitution that Ibans and other natives in Sarawak and Sabah are bumiputeras in every sense of the word and everywhere in Malaysia.
The Bar Council Chairman, Dr. Cyrus Das said it will be odd if some bumiputras are recognised as such only in some parts of the country and not in others and that this would constitute discrimination which is prohibited under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution.
It is not only odd, but completely unjustifiable, to have different classes of bumiputeras in the country and furthermore, a major setback to nation-building efforts at national integration, regardless of race, religion, language, culture or territories.
The Malaysian Government as well as the various State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia should release figures as to the number of Ibans who had applied for various bumiputra privileges, whether for "public services, permits, scholarships, exhibitions and other similar education or training privileges or special facilities" as provided under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the number of such Iban applicants who have been rejected on the ground that they are not recognised as "bumiputeras" for the purpose.
If the Federal and the various state governments are not prepared to be forthcoming with these figures, then DAP MPs and the DAP Assembly representatives in the various State Assemblies will pose questions to ask for answers to be given in Parliament and the State Assemblies.