By S. Harrish
SUPP Youth secretary Michael Tiang has accepted Parti Sarawak Bersatu challenge for a debate over the recent constitutional amendment passed in the State assembly last week.
Tiang said that he accepted the challenge on behalf of SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian to debate over the eligibility of Malaysians not born in Sarawak in becoming an assemblyman.
“On behalf of my party president Dr Sim Kui Hian, I wish to accept [PSB president] Wong Soon Koh’s challenge to have a public debate on the latest constitutional amendment on a person’s eligibility to become a DUN member in Sarawak,” he said in a press statement today.
The Borneo Post reports Tiang saying he was “more than happy” to debate Wong as the latter reckoned a public debate was necessary for the public to see whether the new amendments risked an erosion of Sarawakians basic rights.
Tiang, who is a political secretary to the Chief Minister, said the state’s new constitutional amendment was in fact drafted according to the principle of Jus Sanguinis (Right of blood), an international legal principle of nationality law.
He said this is the right of citizenship to a country or a territory your parents or one of your parent is a citizen of.
“Regardless of where you were born, you have the right to such citizenship in your parent’s’ country or territory. Therefore our constitutional amendment correctly requires any eligible person to become a member of our DUN, he must have a Sarawakian parentage.”
“In other words, he must have at least either one of his parents who is a born Sarawakian and he himself is residing in Sarawak, even though he might not be born in Sarawak.”
It’s a clear intention of the amendment that a non-Sarawakian is never a Sarawakian even if he was born in Sarawak, Tiang stressed.
However, a Sarawakian not born in Sarawak, his parent’s Sarawakian status would allow him to be eligible to contest in a Sarawak state election and to become a member in the august House, he added.
“The objective of this constitutional amendment is also very much in line with GPS’ political agenda that is to always safeguard Sarawak rights and privileges by putting Sarawak First in its governance of the State.”
Yesterday, Wong challenged Dr Sim to a debate on the impact of the amendment as he said it could lead to a potential change of political structure, for the state assembly to be controlled by non-Sarawakians.