Minister Denies Saying Bugis, Javanese To Be Given Sabah Native Status

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KOTA KINABALU: State Law and Native Affairs Minister Datuk Aidi Moktar, who is under fire for allegedly proposing that Bugis and Javanese people to be natives of Sabah, said that it was up to the state government to recognise this two groups of people.

“I never said that the government will recognise the two ethnic groups; that will be left to the state government to discuss,” he said amid a political firestorm over his alleged statement in Tawau that Sabah would study possibility including the two groups as natives of Sabah.

The controversy triggered when Aidi spoke at a ceremony to hand over appointment letters for Tawau district native chiefs in Tawau on Friday.

Aidi explained Saturday (Feb 2) that he told the gathering that there was a problem concerning Bugis and Javanese as they are not be included in the native category forcing the state government to suspend Bugis or Javanese as native chiefs.

“This is a legal issue that is being addressed by ministry which does not alienate the non-natives,” he said in explaining that the appointment of non-natives as native chiefs had been suspended temporarily pending their confirmation as natives by the Native Courts.

He said that there were proposals for the certain Bugis and Javanese community leaders to be native district chiefs but it could not be done as they have to be native to be appointed.

He said that the native court could approve their native status under Section 2D of the Native Interpretation Ordinance with special conditions attached.

“I told the people to wait until all the issues are resolved by the native court before the issue of district native chief from the Bugis and Javanese head be resolved.