KUching: The move to recognise Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu ethnic groups as bumiputra by the Government has been welcomed by various leaders in Sarawak.
Assistant Public Health Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said new government forms are now being printed to include the ethnic groups following the Government’s decision to denote the three groups as bumiputra.
“As for the other groups, they can write their race next to a Bumiputra Sarawak (section).
“This is a step in the right direction because it is a recognition that Malaysia is diverse, especially in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said yesterday.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had told the state Cabinet on Friday that the Federal Government had agreed to the state’s request.
A day later, speaking at a function in Kapit, Adenan told the audience that “there will be no more of the ‘lain-lain’ (other races) business” in government forms.
“He (Adenan) told the state Cabinet that ‘lain-lain’ on existing forms can be cancelled with immediate effect,” Dr Jerip said.
There are over 30 different ethnic groups in Sarawak, the largest of which is Iban, making up about 30% of the population, followed by Chinese (24%), Malay (23%), Bidayuh (8%) and Orang Ulu (5%), according to the 2010 census.
Former Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) state chief Detta Samen said the move was “significant” although it has been long overdue.
“This is something that we have been talking about for decades.
“When you put us under ‘lain-lain’, you are putting us in the same category as foreigners.
“All this while, it was Malay, Chinese, Indian and others, as if we didn’t belong,” the Bidayuh lawyer said.
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