Chong agrees proposed relocation of High Court registry from Kuching to KK ‘unconstitutional’

Chong (right) and Ling (left) meeting Liew this morning (April 23, 2019).

KUCHING, April 23: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) shares the same position as the Sarawak government on the relocation of the High Court registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu issue.

“In the present issue, Sarawak PH is on the same page and position as the Sarawak state government i.e. the decision for the relocation has to be put on hold or even withdrawn.

“On this matter, (DAP Piasau branch chairman) Alan Ling and I have discussed the matter with de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong on the unconstitutionality of the decision, and we have forwarded Sarawak Pakatan Harapan’s view of the matter.

“The federal government places a lot of emphasis on the compliance of the rule of law and what more to say this is the Federal Constitution,” said Chong in a statement today.

Yesterday, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) issued an official statement that the chief minister was not consulted on the matter.

Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution reads: ‘In determining where the principal Registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak is to be, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister, who shall consult the Chief Ministers of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the Chief Judge of the High Court.’

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa Assemblyman, agreed that three persons i.e. Chief Minister of Sabah, Chief Minister of Sarawak and Chief Judge of the High Court, shall be consulted by the Prime Minister before he proceeds to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“That is the condition of Article 121(4). Given the fact that the Chief Minister of Sarawak was not consulted, there is an omission of the duty that is imposed by the Federal Constitution.

“As such, the decision can be treated as unconstitutional,” said Chong, who is also Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.

The federal government had issued a circular dated April 19 on the proposed relocation effective this May 1.

The move was condemned by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and local non-governmental organisations (NGO).

Today, the federal government issued another circular stating that the decision to relocate the registry on May 1 would not take place. — DayakDaily