CJ’s native court suggestion `long overdue’ — PRS Women chief

Datuk Seri Doris Brodie

KUCHING, Jan 18: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women Wing supports Chief Justice Richard Malanjum’s suggestion that the status of native courts be raised to be at par with civil and shariah courts both on administration and jurisdiction over customary laws applicable to the natives.

“We fully support this. It is long overdue. This, of course, does not include penal laws,” said PRS Women chief Dato Sri Doris Brodie in a statement today.

Richard spoke about this yesterday, and it was reported on a national portal.

Doris reckoned having an independent judiciary system for the natives in Sarawak would enable laws affecting native customary rights, such as the recognition of marriage based on custom (adat), Native Courts and Land Administration, Jurisdiction and Power of Native Courts, to be dealt with efficiently, effectively and justly in this land.

“I strongly believe that in Sarawak, the native courts are still relevant as almost two-thirds of Sarawak’s population are Bumiputeras and are still practising native customs.

“However, it is also important to ensure the native courts to be efficiently and effectively administered, adjudication of breaches of customary laws be heard by magistrates and the judges must be well versed in customary laws and enforcement of judgements be expeditiously carried out.”

Doris revealed she had learned that currently, although there is a chief registrar in Kuching, the native courts share manpower resources with District Officers throughout Sarawak both for its administration, adjudication and also enforcement of judgements.

“This, I believe, has to a certain extent, hampered the efficient administration of justice as the Residents, District Officers and Administration Officers have their own core tasks and duties to perform. More so in view of the intensive development programmes within their administrative jurisdictions that require their monitoring and supervision.” — DayakDaily