PBK’s Voon halts case against non-Sarawakian judges practising in S’wak following RM100k losses

Voon at a press conference at his legal office here today (Dec 9, 2022).

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Dec 9: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president and senior lawyer Voon Lee Shan will no longer pursue his two-year fight in court to stop two non-Sarawakian and retired Federal Court judges from practising in Sarawak.

In 2020, Voon sought to intervene in the admission of two retired judges, namely Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Tan Sri David Wong, into the Sarawak bar but was later dismissed.

Voon then appealed twice, all the way to the Federal Court but was dismissed in September and ended up facing cost claims of over RM80,000.

Concurrently, he also took up originating summons to challenge the validity of the judges’ admission petition, which was also dismissed by the High Court yesterday (Dec 8), with cost claims of RM35,000.

“I have decided not to appeal against the dismissal of my appeal yesterday anymore as it takes a great toll on myself, emotionally and financially.

“For this fight, I had to personally bear financial costs of more than RM100,000 until now. This is not easy for anyone.

“I fought to defend Sarawak rights, and I thought I was able to do it through the Courts, but sadly it does not seem to be possible,” he said.

Voon thus expressed hope that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which is currently playing prominent roles in the Federal Cabinet, would be able to ensure that no further Sarawak rights be eroded.

He asserted that the rights allowing only Sarawakians to practice as lawyers in Sarawak are guaranteed in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and the Federal Constitution.

However, he pointed out the definition of ‘Sarawak connections’ in the Advocates Ordinance is too vague, allowing non-Sarawakians to claim to have Sarawak connections by simply buying cheap properties in Sarawak but not being physically present in the State.

“The problem here is this. When non-Sarawakians are admitted to be lawyers here, they may not be (physically) in Sarawak.

“They may just rent a hotel room or any place; they place a clerk there and monitor their businesses from outside Sarawak via Zoom or other technologies.

“This is the thing that we are not comfortable with. The law has to be amended. So I pray that more activists, lawyers and professionals will join the few of us to protect Sarawak rights in the future,” said Voon during a press conference at his legal office at Saradise today.

Accompanying Voon was his personal political assistant Alex Kong. — DayakDaily