THE Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) totally agrees with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that bumiputera status should be passed on by either the father or the mother.
The current practice is archaic in its paternalistic attitude. Why are women, who are the ones who give birth to a child, denied the right to pass on their land to their children when they marry a non-bumi?
SWWS has already raised this issue through appropriate channels, and we now call for the necessary amendments to the Federal Constitution to be made in Parliament, and for the matter to be resolved once and for all. This is not only in keeping with the times, but is a legal obligation. Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention of Elimination against Discrimination to Women (Cedaw), which means that our laws need to reflect this commitment.
Article 8(2) of the constitution has already been amended to make it clear that discrimination on grounds of gender is unacceptable in Malaysia. The time has come to be consistent, and for the constitution to be amended again so that all indigenous peoples across Malaysia, men and women, have the same legal standing.
Sarawak Women for Women Society
3 Dec 2009