High Court Registry: GPS amending Federal Constitution might prove futile

The court complex in Kuching.

KUCHING, Nov 30: Getting the parliament to amend the Federal Constitution to allow Sarawak set up its own High Court Registry will be a futile effort, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Santubong MP, who is a former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, advised the move would be possible if the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) members of parliament could get the amendment tabled as a government bill.

For the amendment of the Federal Constitution, there must be a consent of two-thirds majority in parliament, which GPS does not have. Secondly, with GPS being in the opposition in the Parliament, GPS MPs can only table a private bill.

“As GPS is in the opposition, it is highly unlikely that the PH federal government will allow a GPS private bill to be brought into discussion in parliament.

“Private bill will not reach the debating stage under the present Parliament, where Pakatan Harapan (PH) has a simple majority. Therefore, without the government doing it, it is a futile effort,” he explained.

Wan Junaidi added that even if all Sarawak MPs and Sabah MPs group together to push for the support, it would still be up to the federal government to bring in the bill to amend the Federal Constitution.

He was responding to Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary, Milton Foo, who suggested for Sarawak to have its own High Court Registry,

“While I understand Milton Foo’s concern and considering the vastness of Sarawak and a huge land mass of Sabah, but If Sarawak and Sabah want to have a separate High Court and separate principle registry for High Court of Sarawak and High Court of Sabah, then the Federal government has to amend the Federal Constitution,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi pointed out that as the federal ruling coalition PH has only a simple majority, it would also be quite difficult for the federal government to secure the two-thirds support from the 222 members of parliament.

“Accordingly, to ask the GPS MPs to move the motion and to garner enough support, for the two-third supporting votes from parliament, is definitely not possible,” he said.

He added that the High Court Registries are established based on the provision of Article 121(1)(a)(b) of the Federal Constitution, which reflects the judicial arrangements stipulated under Section 5 of the Act of Malaysia 1963 (Chapter 35) of the United Kingdom.

Article 121 (1) spells out that the location for the principle registry of the High Court for Sarawak and Sabah shall be determined by Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Article 121(4) determines that the principle registry of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister who shall consult the Chief Minister of Sarawak and the Chief Minister of Sabah and Chief Judge of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah.

Wan Junaidi pointed out one of the crucial points that Federal Constitution clearly spells out, is that the prime minister should consult the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah before advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on such matters. — DayakDaily