By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 15: The decision to move the Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu must be challenged, said lawyer Dominique Ng.
Ng, who is a member of the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS), said there are two ways to do I, which was to apply for a judicial review on the decision or originating a summon, both of which he will raise at AAS’ annual general meeting (AGM) that will convene soon.
“I have been given to understand that a letter has been issued from our advocate association to the federal registrar to defer the shifting of the registry until proper consultation has been made with all relevant parties,” said Ng in a press conference at Kuching Court Complex here today.
Another proposal, which he believed would be a good solution (which was brought up by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party Youth secretary, Milton Foo, who is also a lawyer by profession) is the setting up of two separate High Court Registries in the two Bornean states of Sarawak and Sabah, since there are already three separate Bars within Malaysia – the Malaya Bar, the Sarawak Bar and the Sabah Bar.
Meanwhile, Ng said the news of the decision came as a shock to all in Sarawak especially after the vehement objections expressed by the Sarawak government, AAS and practically all lawyers in Sarawak about two months ago when the order was first brought up.
“The decision does not augur well for Federation of Malaysia. It shows that the federal government doesn’t care to the legitimate concern of Sarawak.”
He said the High Court Registry in Sarawak pre-exists the Federation of Malaysia and should not be shifted simply by an administrative or executive order.
Quoting Section 26(4) of in the Inter-govermental Committee Report, he said it was stated that the domicile of the Bornean High Court should be located at a place of convenience to the Sarawakians.
“We are talking about the basic fundamental rights which we are being deprived of now. We are not talking about just the administrative thing. It is symbolic of our judicial system which pre-exists Malaysia.”
Regardless of the state of the matter, Ng believed that Sarawakians should fight against the decision.
“There are some consents given by the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) perhaps under pressure, perhaps handed to him as fait accompli but I don’t think we should give up so easily.
“As it happened in the past to our oil and gas. It was signed away by one of our chief ministers – vesting order in perpetuity. Should we give up our rights so easily? I don’t think Sarawak in modern times ought to give up our rights so easily.”
Ng, who is an advocate for Sarawak’s independence, took the opportunity to call on Sarawakians to support the emerging movement.
“This is another argument in our favour. Why we should be independent? Because if we are not independent, decisions will continue to be made for us by people who are from Malaya without our proper agreement or our consent,” said Ng. — DayakDaily