Better road connectivity, better access to justice across Sarawak: CM

Abang Johari (second left) receiving a memento from Sahathevan (second right) after delivering his speech at the Gala Dinner of Opening Legal Year 2020. Also seen were Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registrar Amelati Parnell (left).

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Jan 18: The Sarawak government is banking on resources in the state to build better connectivity for the people, which also includes enabling access to legal aid and services.

It was pointed out during the National Colloquium on Access to Justice 2020 concluded recently  that one of the obstacles of access to justice was the physical landscape.

“Particularly, for states as vast as Sarawak and Sabah, the lack of infrastructure poses a huge challenge both for the people and the courts,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in his speech during the Gala Dinner for the Opening of Legal Year 2020 organised by the Advocates Association of Sarawak Kuching branch at a hotel here last night.

He gave the assurance that the state government would use all resources available in the state efficiently for the benefit of the people and the judiciary system.

“It is with this in mind that the state government now seeks to primarily rely on its own resources and strategies to ensure that these problems are now given the utmost priority and attention.

“Let me give the assurance that the state government is committed to improve both our physical as well as digital and other forms of communications, in accordance with its own template and exploiting its own powers to create more revenue to the state based on what has been promised and agreed to it when Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia with its partners, Sabah and then Malaya,” he said.

On the issue of separation of powers, he noted the doctrine of separation of powers formed the foundation of the country’s system of government and democracy.

He pointed out that if one organ was allowed to encroach upon the powers and jurisdiction of another, the entire system would break down.

Therefore, Abang Johari believed that the judiciary played the role of final arbiter whenever the question arose.

He noted the role of the judiciary in upholding the principle of separation of powers is therefore of utmost importance.

Citing statements made by Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States,  Abang Johari emphasised that it was very important for the public to have confidence and trust in the judiciary system of the country.

“It is on public confidence that the judiciary depends, for the general acceptance of its judicial decisions by both citizens and the government.

“The public conforms to the decisions of the judiciary because they respect the concept of judicial power and the judges who exercises such power.

“Therefore, the trust and confidence of the people in the judicial system to deliver impartial justice comprises the very foundation of the judiciary.

“The State government is fully committed and will do whatever it is within the confines of the power of the executive to ensure it remains the case,” he pointed out.

At the event, Abang Johari also congratulated Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat for being the first woman to be given such honour in Malaysia’s judiciary and Datuk Rohana Yusof on her appointment as the president of the Court of Appeal.

He believed their appointment is a testament to the progress on empowerment of women in Malaysia as both hold the top two judicial posts in the country.—DayakDaily