The Bumiputera Status In Malaysia


Apparently, Malaysia is not yet 1Malaysia, and that’s why our PM is busy giving everybody ‘Salam 1Malaysia’ in his speeches everywhere. When we basically thought that the issue of Bumiputera’s in Sabah and Sarawak was a clear cut thing, it has re-surfaced this week, sadly.

As a matter of fact, I think I’m no more a Bumiputera Sarawak or native Sarawakian if the education policy is enforced here in Sarawak because my parents are both mix-blooded.

Every Sarawakian believes that you gain your Bumiputera status when your father is a Bumiputere regardless of religion and mother’s ethnicity, but it seems that this rule only dances in Sarawak and probably Sabah, but does not apply when you go to the peninsular of Malaysia, or any colleges under the wisdom of the Malaysian Education Ministry.

According to an article by the Borneo Post, the following is deemed as Bumiputeras:

In the Semenanjung – “Jika salah seorang ibu atau bapa calon adalah seorang Melayu yang beragama Islam/Orang Asli seperti mana yang ditakrifkan dalam Perkara 160(2) Perlembagaan Persekutuan; maka anaknya adalah dianggap seorang Bumiputera.” (If either parent of a candidate is a Malay who is a Muslim/Orang Asli as defined in Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputera.)

In Sabah – “Jika bapa calon adalah seorang Melayu yang beragama Islam/Peribumi Sabah seperti yang ditakrifkan dalam Perkara 161A(6)(a) Perlembagaan Persekutuan; maka anaknya adalah dianggap seorang Bumiputera.” (If the father of the candidate is a Malay who is a Muslim/native of Sabah as defined by Article 161A(6)(a) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputera.)

• In Sarawak – “Jika bapa dan ibu adalah seorang Peribumi Sarawak seperti mana yang ditakrifkan dalam Perkara 161A(6)(b) Perlembagaan persekutuan; maka anaknya adalah dianggap seorang Bumiputera.” (If the father and mother is a native of Sarawak as defined under Article 161A(6)(b) of the Federal Constitution, the child is considered a Bumiputera.

I find it weird that one has to be a child of born Malay or a Muslim parent in Sabah and the Peninsular to be considered a Bumiputera, because I never thought that the Bumiputera status applies only to Muslims. I seriously always figured that it was something related to your father’s ethnic group. More interesting is the fact that the criteria to be a Bumiputera from Sarawak requires both your parents to be from the natives of Sarawak when I also figured that it had nothing to do with the mum’s ethnicity, but it has everything to do with the dad. Now, it seems that those small facts are twisted and I’m on the wrong side of the whole understanding of the status of a Bumiputera.

Can’t say much on this issue coz it is directly linked to my day job, but I hope it gets resolve as fast as possible, and in the spirit of unity and fairness.

Happy Holloween everyone!


  1. Hey, i never knew that’s how Bumiputera is termed. I’ve always known myself as Bumiputera Sabah cos my dad’s Kadazan and mom is Sino. There’s no mentioning that u have to be a Malay or Muslim to be a Bumiputera, at least none that I know in Sabah. As long as you are not Chinese or India, then you are a Bumiputera. Or have we been misled? Hmmm….

    That’s the thing. In Sabah, you guys still have this thing called ‘Sino’. We people in Sarawak don’t have it, and well… as everyone, I myself always regarded that if my dad is Bumi, then so am I.. but now, it seems that status does not apply to me anymore. In fact, my dad himself is not Bumi coz his mom (my granny) is a Chinese…

  2. ?

    Isn’t the ‘/ ‘ means or?

    I think it does mean ‘or’… but then again, what does Bumiputera status has to do with religion? right? Does this mean that if you are a Malay, then you decide to denounce your religion like Lina Joy, then you are no more a Bumiputera?

  3. In that particular case, one have to understand what is the definition of ‘Malay’ from the constitution. That is another story and another battle. try not to mix up.

    anyway, i do agree that the definition of Bumiputera as an overall is rather outdated, not uniform and do injustice to certain quarters. it should be revamp.

    Yeah.. that’s another case.. Better not get into it coz trouble alarms would sign up.
    Yes, totally agree with you about revamping the whole definition. Its about time.

  4. you have no idea how confusing it is for us at the moment. my dad’s iban & my mum’s chinese. all these years there was no problem dealing with bumiputera status. its ridiculous that all of sudden its a complicated issue.
    for me… i don’t think malaysians should keep this ‘bumiputera status & rights’ anymore. it breeds racism. its as if saying that one race is more important than the other.

    1 Malaysia concept is confusing me more & more everyday.

    Actually, I think I know how you feel.. and I agree on you on the fact that the 1Malaysia concept is getting confusing by the day. Also agree that the bumiputera status does breed rasicm, but I do acknowledge that there is a need to protect the Bumiputera to some extend.

  5. Before you guys jump into any conclusion.. have you actually read the Malaysia Federal Constitution?

    Surprisingly there are no “bumiputera” word written inside it.

    So what is “bumiputera” anyway? Basically is the term used by Tunku Abdul Rahman anyway to define the MALAY AND ABORIGINE (160(2)) -check under “orang melayu” and “orang asli”

    and THE NATIVE OF “SARAWAK” (161A(6)(a)) and NATIVE OF SABAH (161A(6)(b))

    here is the link to constitution in Bahasa Malaysia

    you may need Google-Translate to convert it into English

    So, verified your criteria based on this definitions.

    The definition of bumiputera varies between government agencies. But then, most importantly, this term is not used under the constitution.

    Well, you got your opinion on the issue =) Anyway, just for your information, in Sarawak.. we always thought that the race of ones child will be according to the father, which means that if the father is a native, then the child would be a native regardless of the mothers race.

  6. My dad is bidayuh & my mum is Chinese+iban.. Now I don’t know where I stand :(( kind of sad actually..

    Yeah.. it’s a normal case in Sarawak and it is sad to know that this issue crops up.

  7. What if a child born in sarawak with father is chinese and mother is malay. Shouldn’t the child consider as bumiputera?
    If the mother want to pass on the bumi land or other’s property, she can’t pass her property to his (non-bumi) son or daughter? this is ridiculous!! So, I suggest that, either one of the parent is bumi, the child will automatically consider as bumi. Why women dont have the power to pass on her bumi status to her own child? this is discriminating female right too!!

    It’s hard to explain. I’m also unsure about this whole ‘status’ thing because it’s the government thing.. =(

    • Please read the Perkara 20 that being requested by Sabahan & Sarawakian political parties in 1963 for federal government to agree before they decide to join Malaysia.

  8. My honest opinion, it is not fair that semenanjung peoples can considered as bumi when 1 or the parent is bumi. y not in sarawak? This is obviously discriminating Sarawak people’s! Same Nation, different definition for bumi? fuuny!! why not make a rule, semenanjung people dont need pay tax, only sabahan and sarawakian pay??

    Heheheh… You hit the nail rightly on its head.. but I see things are now improving =) altough rather slowly =(

  9. Someone told me, after marina mixed races marriage, government resolved the matter by annoucing if 1 of the parent is bumi, the son or daughter is bumi. Is this confirm yet? I just hear from friends. Wondering what they told me is true or not.

  10. Im dusun (Sabah native – non muslim) married with Malaysian chinese. My daughter carried a chinese sir name. My daughter become non-bumi. My neighbour is a Bajau (Sabah native – muslim) married with (philipines women-muslim just having penduduk tetap status). Their 12 childerns become bumiputera. a hell..Oh philipines women welcome to Sabah your generations are easlily get a bumiputera status because you are Muslim. Especially people from Kepulauan Sulu.They can afford to have 12 child due to previallege given by government. I only can afford to have one clild. That why when you go to Kota Kinabalu centre point. Business conquered by pilipinos as not only they hold malaysian ic. They are bumiputera.Sabah is too attacrative to philipinos.

  11. my father is chinese n my mother is muslim…still, i am confused with my status..;)

    the problem of bumiputera should be solve by government…
    no discrimination…i think either mum and dad is bumi, then their children shud be bumi too..


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