Legal shocker: Registry headquarters of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah to be moved to KK

Shankar Ram Asnani

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 20: The unprecedented move by the federal government to transfer the headquarters of the Registry of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah, located at Jalan Gersik here, to Kota Kinabalu effective May 1 has sent shockwaves to both the local legal fraternity and lawmakers.

Senior lawyer Shankar Ram said he was shocked to learn of the news.

He shared that the Registry’s headquarters had always been located here since the formation of Malaysia.

Citing Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution, which reads, `In determining where the Principal Registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak is to be, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act on advice of the Prime Minister, who shall consult the Chief Ministers of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the Chief Judge of the High Court”.

“Did the prime minister consult the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak and the Chief Judge of the High Court? I don’t think so,” Shankar told DayakDaily here today.

An image of the circular.

He asserted that moving the Registry required the prime minister, chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah, and the king to be on the same page, otherwise “the move is not constitutional”.

Santubong MP Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is a lawyer by profession, is also stunned by the news and echoed Shankar’s view on Article 121(4).

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

The impending move is contained in a circular dated April 19, 2019, that was signed by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court, Dato Sri Latifah Mohd Tahar.

Copies of the circular were also sent to all relevant legal bodies and fraternities in the country. — DayakDaily