KUCHING, Nov 29: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary Milton Foo holds the view that the present judicial system of having a combined High Court of Sabah and Sarawak reflected that Sarawak is still a colony.
He thus advocated for Sarawak to have its own High Court Registry to reflect the true spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“There should be a High Court of Sarawak with its own registry to reflect the three states forming Malaysia,” Foo said, arguing that currently, there are three separate Bars in Malaysia and that the Sarawak High Court Registry has existed even before the formation of Malaysia.
He explained that after World War II, when Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo (Sabah) were colonies of the United Kingdom, the British government combined the three entities under one single judicial system of the Supreme Court of Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo.
“We are no longer a colony but partner or founding state (in late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s words) in Malaysia. If we can maintain separate legal profession in the three states, why can’t our judicial system too?”
“Is Sarawak a colony of Malaysia, just like the UK colonised us before, which combined the courts of its Borneo colonies into a single judicial system known as the Supreme Court of Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei?
“By having a combined High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, it seems to me there is no difference when Sarawak was under UK colony and now under Malaya’s in the disguise of the so-called federation of Malaysia,” he opined.
Meanwhile, responding to Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin who questioned if having three high court registries would give rise to more problems, Foo emphasised that if there were problems, then it should be dealt with.
“If we know there are problems with the current system, isn’t it our duty as lawyers who are also officers of the court to find solutions to the problem?
“After all, we have different ordinances applicable only to Sabah and Sarawak respectively. For instance, the land law in Sabah and Sarawak is totally different and distinct where the former is governed by Sabah Land Ordinance and Sarawak by Sarawak Land Code,” he pointed out.
Sabah and Sarawak Chief Judge Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah was reported to have said that the decision to set up the High Court registries in both Sabah and Sarawak will have to be based on Federal Constitution.
“At present, we have two high courts and until it is changed by politicians, we have what we have,” he added.
On the same issue, Chin had expressed uncertainty whether having three separate high courts would be a good idea as there were already problems having the present two.
To Foo, who has been advocating for three separate high court registries, and considering the amendment of Article 121(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution and Courts of Judicature Act 1964, he believed that to reflect the true spirit of MA63, obstacles can be removed and Constitution can be amended if there was a political will to treat Sarawak fairly and to fulfill people’s wishes.
“Only the politicians and parliamentarians can make law and amend the law including the Constitution in accordance with the spirit of MA63 and to fulfill the people’s wishes as they are the elected representatives,” he concluded.— DayakDaily