According to the Federal Constitution on the natives of Sarawak,

161 (7) The races to be treated for the purposes of the definition of
“native” in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans,
Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabits,
Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs
(including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs and
Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanos, Muruts, Penans,
Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.

If you count properly, there are only 20 main races as enshrined in the Constitution. Remember our Sejarah textbooks? It says we have 27. Where are the rest?

Most people know the Land Dayaks to be Bidayuh, the Sea Dayaks as Ibans. Lun Bawang is a separate ethnic group also not in. Back then, I’m guessing there were no true experts on the differences between the multiple ethnic groups and its sub groups.

Most of these ‘non-existent’ races are now assimilating themselves into the closest group they think are alike with them, or are politically beneficial. Some of these ‘non-existent’ groups are like the Jati Miriek who now call themselves Melayu Kedayan (although they are more similar to Lun Bawang or Kejaman) and the Salako-Lara who now associate themselves with the Bidayuh, although their culture and language differ a lot.

I guess changing the Constitution to incorporate all the missing groups is too much of a hassle, and a political threat since ‘bumi’ issues tend to be blown out of proportion.

So if anyone asks you to list down 27 ethnic groups, now you know there aren’t, (or maybe there are, just I don’t know about them).


2 thoughts on “27

  1. yea agreed..but jatie miriek is not kedayan lah bro heheh..jati miriek and kedayan have so lot differences..because they are muslim maybe they look like malay but have some differences from language and culture..the jatie merek have dalek,bakong and have same language with berawan people.. While kedayan when track early root are dayak bakumpai of kalimantan….(just sharing a little bit lah) Sebuyau people and saribas people merge with iban and malay..seru people merge into malay..Even the malay of Sarawak ,their ancestors are dayak but when converted to Islam..it take few hundred years away from their own roots..but compare to Kalimantan,they still attach to culture even different relegion..

    1. Of course. But they just want to associate themselves (actually I think that’s what they called themselves last time) with the nearest group they can when they are linguistically closer to Lun bawang or Kajang. Just like the Salako-Lara join the Bidayuh. But that’s my opinion lah. I don’t know that much about them too haha.

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