KUCHING, Nov 20: The Kuching High Court has fixed Dec 11 for the next hearing on a non-Sarawak lawyer and former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum who wishes to practice law in Sarawak.
Sarawakian lawyer Voon Lee Shan, who is also Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president, had filed a suit to strike out Chief Justice Sabah Sarawak (CJSS) Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim’s earlier decision in dismissing his application following no objections from Advocates’ Association of Sarawak (AAS) and Sarawak State Attorney-General’s Chamber (SAG) in granting Malanjum’s application to practice law in Sarawak.
“My argument is that I have the ‘locus standi’ to intervene in the application by former chief justice Malanjum to practice law in Sarawak because I am a lawyer myself and in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), it is stated that lawyers outside Sarawak are restricted from practicing in Sarawak unless they can meet the requirements of the law under the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953.
We must protect Sarawak,” Voon asserted.
The Advocates Ordinance 1953 states that only those with Sarawak connection can practice law in Sarawak.
Under the law, one is deemed to have Sarawak connections only if he was born in Sarawak, has been ordinarily a resident in Sarawak for a continuous period of five years or more, or domiciled in Sarawak
“So today’s claim is to set aside CJSS’s order of advocate admission as it has breached the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953,” Voon said, adding that if Sabahans’ applications were allowed, then it will open the gate for Peninsular lawyers to come.
Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai said at this stage, the court is reminded to hear the arguments from both sides and therefore instructed all parties to file in their respective submission and notes of proceeding.
Voon was represented by Lim Heng Choo and RJ Noel while Malanjum was represented by Tan Kee Heng and Chong Siew Chiang.
Meanwhile, Voon in a statement this afternoon said he came to know about Malanjum and former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah both Sabahans had applied for admission into Sarawak Bar as lawyers sometime in Sept this year.
Following that, he wrote to the court, requesting copies of their petitions because he wanted to see for himself the propriety of the petitions.
“I wanted to intervene in their petitions in order to protect Sarawak rights under MA63 and the Federal Constitution.
“However, my request was turned down by Abang Iskandar. I proceeded to file an intervener application but it was dismissed by Abang Iskandar on grounds that I had no locus standi to intervene against their petitions.
“After my intervener application was dismissed, Malanjum was allowed and admitted as an advocate because there was no objection from the Sarawak Bar,” Voon said.
He further disclosed that a few days after the intervener application was dismissed, received documents pertaining to Malanjum’s petition in his letterbox.
Upon viewing the documents, Voon opined that the petition was flawed and Malanjum’s admission as a lawyer of Sarawak Bar should be revoked. – DayakDaily