11 Sarawakians challenging MA63 validity should file case in international court, says SAG source

Voon (left) is acting as the legal counsel of the 11 plaintiffs who have brought a lawsuit challenging the validity of MA63.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 14: The 11 plaintiffs challenging the validity of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) should file their case to “the proper forum provided under international law”, said a source in the Sarawak Attorney General’s Chambers (SAG).

According to the source, the High Court in Kuching has no jurisdiction to hear disputes involving international treaties.

“The Sarawak government has applied to strike out the case as the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear disputes arising from an international agreement or treaty like MA63.

“The plaintiffs should vent their grievances at the proper forum provided under international law,” said the source.  

SAG had yesterday (April 13) filed an application to strike out a lawsuit in the Kuching High Court brought by 11 Sarawakians to determine the validity MA63 which they insisted was void from the beginning.

The legal council of the 11 plaintiffs, Voon Lee Shan, stated that the Sarawak government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) through the SAG Chambers had also served the necessary legal documents on the plaintiffs yesterday.

Following the Sarawak government’s action, the plaintiffs have 14 days to oppose the application before the Court.

Voon who is also Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) believed that the best avenue to settle the matter was the court of law, adding that the case may be brought to the Federal Court, which is the apex court in Malaysia.  

Voon opined that Sarawak lost many of its resources including oil and gas and maritime wealth following the amendments to the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 and a few other laws (the Continental Shelf Act 1966 and the Territorial Seas Act 2012), as well as annual development fund revenue from the Federal government.

Some 11 Sarawakians led by Dorus Katan Juman had filed a suit in the Kuching High Court last year to remove Sarawak from the Federation of Malaysia, but only served the amended writ and statement of claim to the defendants namely Putrajaya as well as the British and Sarawak governments recently.

During an online case management on March 15 before judicial commissioner Alexander Siew, Putrajaya and the Sarawak government had requested a month to file a striking out application and, at the same time, requested that the filing of defence be deferred pending the hearing of the striking out application.

Both governments have been given until April 15 to file the application to annul the suit. Another case management will be held on June 30.

The British government has not entered an appearance despite the writ being served on the embassy. — DayakDaily