Monday, 29 November 2010

'Victimised' Wong threatens to open up can of worms



By Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: The revocation of Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong's status as a “native” of Sabah is threatening to open a Pandora's box on thousands of “new Bumiputeras”.

The DAP assemblyman is crying foul and maintains that the nullification of his “native” status by the state government is politically-motivated to punish him for being critical of the state administration.

“Some of these Native Certificate holders include certain non-Bumiputera Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians and supporters who are not Sabahans,” he said at a press conference yesterday, a day after the government said he is not qualified to be a “native”.

Wong cited the case of the late Syed Kechik Syed Mohamed Al-Bukhary, the former Sabah strongman and close aide of one-time chief minister Mustapha Harun, who maintained his native status despite the fact that he hails from Kedah.

“But I’m a bona fide Sabahan who was born and bred in Sabah,” he said.

He has vowed to challenge the state government's decision in both the native and civil courts, as soon as he receives the official letter from the State Native Affairs Department.

He also warned the government that his legal action may open up a can of worms, claiming that he has knowledge of scores of similar cases.

'Friendly advice'

Wong, who is also Sabah DAP deputy chairman, was responding to the declaration made by State Local Government and Housing Minister, Hajiji Noor at the State Legislative Assembly sitting on Thursday, that he (Wong) is not qualified to possess the Native Certificate .

Hajiji said the officers' board formed under Section 3 (3) Definition Ordinance (Native Define) 1952 Cap.64 and chaired by the permanent secretary of his ministry had scrutinised the native certificate issued to Wong, and found that the latter is “not qualified” to own the certificate.

He said the finding of the board had been presented to the Native Court here to make a declaration.

Wong's native certificate was highlighted during previous assembly sittings at which he claimed his brother had applied for him when he was studying in London prior to 1982.

He reiterated that he has sufficient grounds to believe that Hajiji’s declaration was politically-motivated.

He claimed that the latter had given him “friendly advice” when they met in the canteen of the State Legislative Assembly during the recent sittings, telling him not to be too vocal against the state government.

“It looks like the state government is bent on stifling all opposition voices in Sabah by hook or by crook. But, I’m not going to bow down to such intimidation,” he said.

Wong also questioned the state government's determination to prosecute him, but could not be bothered to act against the vast number of “new Bumiputeras” in the state comprising foreigners from the neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, besides Pakistanis who became citizens of Malaysia and natives of Sabah through dubious means.

Also present at the news conference were Sabah DAP chief and Kota Kinabalu MP, Hiew King Cheu, vice-chairman Edward Mujie and publicity secretary, Edwin Bosi.