Putrajaya drops plan to move High Court registry from Kuching to KK on May 1

Photo of the Kuching Court Complex, which also houses the Registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 22: The federal government’s recent decision to move the registry of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu effective May 1 has been deferred. No reason was given.

A three-paragraph circular issued by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court, Dato Sri Latifah Mohd Tahar, today merely stated that the said intention would not be implemented on Labour Day.

When asked to comment on the matter, State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo said, “If we are equal partners, there should be a new registry for Sabah. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government must make good its promise for fair and equal status for all three components.”

Soo opined that if de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, a Sabahan, so wanted the registry to be relocated in his home state, he should fight for similar status instead of taking Sarawak’s rights.

“He should fight for his state’s right. Fight for Sabah’s right, not steal Sarawak’s right,” she said.

Meanwhile, senior lawyer Shankar Ram believed that Liew had realised the flagrant breach of Article 121(4) of The Federal Constitution.

“But I am given to understand that Dato Sebastian Ting of SUPP (Sarawak United Peoples’ Party) will file an action in the High Court to declare the purported decision to transfer the registry of the High Court to KK as unconstitutional and void,” he said.

Yesterday, the Chief Minister’s Office issued a statement that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was not consulted on the purported move and stressed that such move was “unconstitutional”.

Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution 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”.

Meanwhile, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi shot down Democratic Action Party (DAP)’s claim that it was their efforts that reversed the decision of the Federal Government on the matter.

“Please stop clowning around. The rakyat knows what is happening. In fact, it was Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who made the statement yesterday that the move made by the Federal Government was unconstitutional as he (chief minister) was not consulted,” he said.

Nanta also advised Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president-cum-Saratok MP Ali Biju not to become clowns of DAP by alleging that GPS did not do enough to fight for Sarawak’s rights.

“What rights is he talking about? We, in GPS, have also made our voice heard in Parliament on Sarawak’s rights. He (Ali) is not the only one who thinks that he’s right.

“In fact, it was the late Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) who started it in 2016. So, I hope YB Ali Biju will stop politicking and instead concentrate on bringing more development to the rural areas that will benefit the rural people, especially the Ibans,” emphasised Nanta. — DayakDaily