Constitution Has To Clear, Not Ambiguous And Left To Court To Determine


Press Statement By Michael Kong:

While Deputy Speak Gerawat Gala and/or GPS may subscribe to the idea that a ‘Putri’ type candidate be put as a candidate as a ‘test case’ for the purpose of determining the interpretation of the amended constitution, DAP Sarawak will not nominate a candidate just so that they can thread on a thin line.

DAP Sarawak has and always have been a principled party which believes only a Sarawakian shall only be qualified to stand in the Sarawak election. That’s also the reason why our State chairman YB Chong Chieng Jen proposed that the word “Sarawakian” be inserted into the Constitution amendment bill, but such proposal was rejected by the GPS.

One may argue that DAP Sarawak chose to nominate Dr Ting Tiong Choon who was subsequent found to be disqualified by the Federal Court. Well, despite all said against Dr Ting Tiong Choon, he is still a Sarawakian and has Sarawak and the people at his heart.

For Gerawat Gala to quote the case of Pendaftar Besar Kelahiran dan Kematian, Malaysia v Pang Wee See & Anor [2017] 3 MLJ 308 is erroneous. The case was respecting the citizenship of the person where the Court of Appeal looked at Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution read together with section 1(a) of Part II, Second Schedule. Section 1(a) of Part II, Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution provides that ‘every person born outside the Federation whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanent resident in the Federation’. The keyword here is ‘at the time of the birth’ because it that would mean the citizenship or permanent residence of the biological parent of the child is to be considered.

However, in the present newly amended Constitution of the State of Sarawak, there is no reference to the biological parent at any point. Therefore to infer that it would extend to biological parents is wrong in law.

Furthermore, if truly biological parents are the intent of the GPS government, why didn’t the GPS government put in the word ‘biological’ or the phrase ‘at the time of the birth’? Why leave such ambiguity in the amendment bill?

It is irresponsible of the government to pass a law with the intention of leaving rooms and ambiguity for the court to decide one way or another. We are talking about constitutional amendments here so there must be absolute clarity so as to reach its purpose.