Sabah indigenous folk allowed to specify ethnicity in forms

Sabah indigenous folk allowed to specify ethnicity in forms
Aerial view of houses near Kampung Simunul in Sabah, Malaysia.

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah is following Sarawak's move of allowing members of indigenous communities to specify their ethnicity in the race column when filling out official forms.

State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman said the Sabah Cabinet in its meeting yesterday had agreed that the race column in government forms should be left blank.

"This means an applicant can state his ethnic group within that space," he said in a statement.

Sukarti said the Sabah government would also submit a list of the state's ethnic communities to the National Registration Department.

This list would serve as a reference for the department when processing applications for birth certificates and identity cards for Malaysians of Sabah origin, he added.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan had said that it was up to individuals to insist on specifying their race instead of marking "Lain Lain (others)" in the race column in the government forms.

Previously, the race column in official forms only specified Malay, Chinese, Indian and "Lain Lain".

He said ethnic communities would also assist the authorities in their data collection efforts by specifying their race in official government forms.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced recently that those from the state's indigenous communities such as the Iban, Bidayuh and Melanau could now specify their race in such documents.

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