What’s in store for these children? James Masing says Marina’s case a test of state cabinet committee’s power on Bumiputera status. Masing should be asking that question to Sarawak YB who married non-Dayak. Such YB are the Chief Minister himself, Dr Jerip Susil or Dr Tiki Lafe.

Has a state cabinet committee which decides on who are rightfully Bumiputera in Sarawak erred all these years?The committee, which meets twice a year, has given its endorsement for Bumiputera status to hundreds of Sarawakians who are born to mixed-marriages, but the plight of Marina Undau has raised serious concerns about its authority. A member of that committee is Land Development Minister Dato Sri Dr James Masing and he could not help but worry whether the committee’s decisions were in line with the federal constitution which should be supreme.

He is concerned that if it was true that what Article 161a of the federal constitution says is that in Sarawak both parents must be native in order for their child to be Bumiputera, all the committee’s decisions would have been undone.

“The committee decides based on the ethnicity of either one of the parents. If the father is a native, then the child must be native or a Bumiputera. But the article says that both parents must be ‘exclusively’ native, so what does that mean? Have we been doing something illegal? “ he asked when interviewed by The Borneo Post yesterday.

“If Article 161a of the federal constitution is correct, then has the Sarawak government acted ultra vires the article? What happens to the newly declared Bumiputeras? Is their status to be nullified?”

He said if his understanding of the article was correct, there would be tremendous political and socio-economic ramifications on all Sarawakians of mixed-parentag, who had benefited from the many privileges accorded to the Bumiputera.

“It’s not just education we are talking about here,” he said, adding that he had recently been approached by many Sarawakians who were concerned about their Bumiputera status.

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