Jatti Miriek hopeful for official recognition as ethnic group

MIRI: The Jatti Miriek community, one of the oldest ethnic communities in the country, is one step closer to be officially recognised as one of the ethnic groups in the state following positive response from the state government.

Miri Jatti Miriek Association secterary, Ujut Rahman said the association had received a WhatsApp message from director of the Administration Unit of the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Department, Antonio Kahti Galis on Dec 8 that the association’s official application had been sent “to the top management for further consideration”.

“Our association is hopeful that the Sarawak government can speed up the process and finally recognise us as an ethnic community by next year which has been a life-long dream for us,” he told Bernama here yesterday.

Ujut said a letter to seek official recognition was forwarded to Antonio on March 21 this year with an official reply sent to the association on April 27.

“We want official ethnic recognition from the Sarawak government for the sake of our younger generation so that they know the existence of Jatti Miriek, historically and culturally,” he said.

Ujut said with the official recognition, it would make it much easier for the community to deal with official matters such as applying for government scholarships as well as filling application forms. On Nov 30, Bernama reported that the close-knit community of Jatti Miriek had been longing to be recognised as one of the ethnic groups in the state as currently, the community was categorised as Sarawak Malays in the race column on government application forms unlike other minority ethnic communities such as the Kayan and Kenyah.

For the record, Jatti Miriek is said to be one of the oldest communities in the country which came to Sarawak about 200 or 300 years ago and that the word “Miri” originated from Miriek.

The Miriek people number about 10,000 and they reside mainly in northern Sarawak and Brunei, with many having successfully ventured into business or working in the public and private sectors.

The Miriek language, according to researchers, is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world and is on the verge of extinction. — Bernama

Source: http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/12/29/jatti-miriek-hopeful-for-official-recognition-as-ethnic-group/