Sarawak activist questions complaint against call to debate native status of Taib’s Syria-born wife

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Police complaint by Astana Negeri official against individuals for posting ‘seditious and defamatory content’ against Taib’s wife on social media.

Any move to publicly debate the native status and position of Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi, the wife of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, should not be stifled, local human rights activist Peter John Jaban said today.

He raised his eyebrows at the recent police complaint filed by an Astana Negeri official after he questioned how the Syria-born woman was able to be conferred native status that is meant for local-born Sarawakians and which grants them special rights, including land ownership.

Jaban said his call to debate is not an infringement of Ragad’s privacy since information about her and other public figures is available in the public domain as well as the subject of several news reports.

“In fact, it is listed openly on the extracts of title, which can be purchased at the Land Registry office for a small fee,” he said in a statement when responding to a police report lodged by an official of Astana Negeri on posting Ragad’s personal particulars on social media.

Jaban said Ragad’s identity card number was published openly in the Sarawak government gazette, and where she lives is also publicly known. He stressed that Sarawakians have every right to debate her status and position and demand a proper investigation into the process of how Ragad was granted an identity card and Malaysian citizenship.

He added that the social media posts by locals reflect the strength of public opinion and should not be ignored. An Astana Negeri official had recently lodged a police report at the Gita Police Station against individuals for posting “seditious and defamatory content against Ragad” on social media.

News portal Dayak Daily reported that the posts questioned her status as a native of Sarawak.

The Astana Negeri official said the postings were deemed to be infringing her privacy, and personal rights as well Personal Data Protection Act 2010, as they put out the image of her identity card.

The official also claimed that the postings have a tendency to draw hatred towards the head of state by attacking his wife, who had been conferred native status legitimately through her marriage to Taib. – MMO