KOTA KINABALU: Sino-natives in Sabah are unhappy with the National Registration Department’s (NRD) move to do away with their ‘identity’.
According to Persatuan Peranakan Tionghua Ranau president Alldem Chia, they are disappointed with NRD’s decision requiring the Sino community to choose his or her race based on either one of his or her parent’s ancestry.
“We do agree that Sino, like native, is not a race. That is why we queried NRD’s earlier practise of issuing birth certificates which stated the race of our newborn as Sino- Native,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Alldem pointed out: “During the colonial times, our birth certificate always stated our race as ‘Sino’ followed by a dash then the North Borneo indigenous ethnic like Murut, Kadazan, Dusun and so on.
“It was easy and straight forward. We therefore urge the NRD to maintain that status quo unless the leaders and the Sino community decide otherwise and we strongly urge the government to act immediately,” he said.
Alldem said the Sino community which is also known as ‘Peranakan’ has been in existence in the state even before the formation of Malaysia.
Records of Sino identity was even in existence during the British colonial era and the then government recognised the Sino community, he said adding that the Persatuan Peranakan Tionghua Ranau itself was formed in the late 1950s.
“Though we only registered in 2001, the communities have spread all over the state. Our association was formed to look into the welfare, education, native status as well as our identity.”
Alldem said the Sino-native community was gaining in numbers in the state.
Therefore the association hoped the state government could do something about the issue.
He also pointed out that the community has been keeping its faith with the state government and have been very cooperative.
“However, due to the new ruling from NRD, one of our ancestry races will disappear from our generation. And we see there is no end to the problem as mixed marriages in our beloved state of Sabah is so common.
“There will be inheritance problem for the Sino community who is entitled to native rights but choose to be Chinese, Indian and so on. We are not only referring to the rights to native land but the many opportunities.
“Even the privileges to choose the native court as their preferred platform to settle simple dispute is off the radar. Therefore we are of the opinion that this issue should be brought to debate and discussion in the state Cabinet as well as among the Sino community.
“This is why the Sino community of Ranau is strongly opposing the new ruling,” he said adding that the Sino community has been deprived of their right to obtain the Sijil Anak Negeri for 29 years.
“Despite the long wait, for almost three decades, it is still unresolved,” Alldem said and added: “Now, the only thing we have is our identity, which is Sino. So how could the NRD make such a tough decision without consulting the state government and the Sino community at large?”