Intervener application on 2 non-Sarawakian lawyers to be heard on Sept 7

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, August 28: The High Court in Kuching today has fixed Sept 7 to hear an intervener application by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan regarding two non-Sarawakian prominent lawyers to be admitted as advocates in Sarawak.

When contacted, Voon said, he brought up the issue to the High Court to safeguard Sarawak lawyers’ interest and to ensure that lawyers from outside Sarawak will be blocked to practice in the State.

He also stressed that this was to protect the interest of practising lawyers in Sarawak as provided by the Federal Constitution. This is based on the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“It is in MA63 that lawyers outside Sarawak are restricted to practise law in Sarawak unless they could meet the requirements of the law under the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953.

“If this right is taken away, there is nothing more left for Sarawak as the autonomy on immigration rights could also be diluted or removed,” said Voon when contacted by DayakDaily today.

He added that under the present law, lawyers from outside Sarawak could practice here only on ad hoc basis depending on circumstances.

Advocates Association of Sarawak’s Kuching branch vice-chairman Liew Tang Chieh had also issued a statement in support of such move and insisted that there must be strict compliance with Section 2 (2) (a), (b) or (c) of the Advocates Ordinance 1953, which states that only lawyers with Sarawak connection can practise in Sarawak.

The ordinance states that a person is deemed to have Sarawak connections if they are born in the state, have been a resident here for a continuous period of five years or more, and are domiciled in Sarawak.

The intervener application by Voon was regarding former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and former Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah, who have been rumoured to have intentions to practice in Sarawak. Both Richard and Wong are Sabahans.

The Intervener application will be heard before Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim.

Yesterday, Sarawak’s de facto Law Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali was quoted as saying that although the State would not compromise on the law affecting non-Sarawakian lawyers who wished to practise in the State, their applications to be admitted as advocates would be considered objectively.— DayakDaily