“Allow proper debate of Ragad’s case,” says activist

SARAWAK social activist Peter John Jaban has hit back at an unnamed “Astana Official” for their attempt to stifle proper debate on the status and position of state governor Tan Sri Taib Mahmud’s Syrian-born wife Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi Taib.

He reiterated that he would continue his campaign on this matter without fear or favour to expose the double standards in citizenship applications and provision of native status between Ragad’s case and those of thousands of Sarawakians who remain without proper documentation or the right to inherit their ancestral lands.

“The question here is why should Ragad get her citizenship so quickly when so many other more deserving cases had failed,” the Global Human Rights Federation (Malaysia) deputy president said in a statement today (July 10).

“As for infringing her privacy, perhaps Ragad should be speaking to her own son about the wisdom of flashing his credentials on his TikTok channel and even his cash for the world to see.”

Drawing comparison between Taib’s first wife Puan Sri Laila Taib and Ragad, Jaban said Laila was highly regarded for her charitable work of over 30 tears and had gone down on the ground and put in the hours representing a range of organisations.

Apparently taking a swipe at Ragad, Jaban said Laila, who was fluent in Melanau and Iban, had become a citizen of Sarawak through a long process over many years of marriage and the birth of several children.

“Yet she had never attained or even applied for native status despite embracing the
Melanau culture and speaking the language fluently,” he remarked, adding that Laila had even rejected offers to be made a Sarawak native.

It was reported in 2018 that Ragad along with her two children from a previous relationship been fast-tracked into “fully fledged” Melanaus and as such, had been accorded native Bumiputera status in the state.

This had entitled them to hold native title land in Sarawak and to all the other special considerations afforded the Bumiputera in Malaysia despite the fact that none of the three were born in the state or have a Malaysian parent, let alone one with Bumiputra status.

Jaban went on to suggest that perhaps Ragad is “worried that questions will be raised about why she seems to have two IC numbers when some Sarawakians cannot even get one”.

He noted that although Ragad’s date of birth remains the same, her IC on the various extracts of titles – which Jaban said can be purchased at the Land Registry office for a small fee – contains a different country code and an entirely different personal identifier to that originally gazetted.

“I hope this too will form part of any proper investigation into the process by which she was issued her citizenship,” Jaban said.

“This is an important issue that all Sarawakians have a right to debate. They have a right to demand a proper investigation into the process.”

Jaban further pointed out that the effect of power and privilege on the country’s civil service is of interest to all and any double standards in the system should be exposed.

“The number of postings reflects the strength of opinion, and this should not be ignored. All citizens of Malaysia are entitled to the same freedoms under the law and the Astana, above all others, should applaud this process unless there is something to hide,” he asserted. – July 10, 2023


Main pic credit: Selangor Journal

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