“Qualified individuals who meet criteria should be allowed to practise law in Sarawak”

Chong commenting on the case outside of the courtroom.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Sept 7: Anyone with the right qualifications and enough “Sarawak connections” can apply for law practice in Sarawak, says senior lawyer Chong Siew Chiang.

Chong is the counsel for former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and former Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah, two Sabahans who submitted an application to practise law in Sarawak.

“If they (Richard and David) have the qualification and enough Sarawak connections that could satisfy the Chief Judge, let them apply,” he said.

Emphasising on the statement that no man could stop another with the right credentials from applying to practise law in Sarawak, Chong asserted that it all depends on how one looks at the matter.

He was referring to the hearing in the Kuching High Court this morning concerning Sarawak advocate Voon Lee Shan’s intervener application on Aug 26 regarding two prominent non-Sarawakians’ request to practise law in the state.

Voon asserted in his statement on Aug 27 that the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953 states that a person is deemed to have Sarawak connections if they are born in the state, have been a resident there for a continuous period of five years or more, and are domiciled in Sarawak.

Having heard the case, Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim then decided to release the judgement of the case on Sept 15, 2020.

“To me, it’s not about the infringement of the autonomy of Sarawak. It depends on how you look at it.

“The way I see it is that if there is a man holding very high position wanting to be a member of the Sarawak Bar, I feel very proud.

“That is my feeling, but you cannot stop him from applying,” said Chong who is also a Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) advisor when met after the hearing in the Kuching High Court this morning.

Adding on, he said that Sarawak has its law and it is up to the Chief Judge to decide whether Voon has the locus standi to intervene in the former chief judges’ application which is the main focal point of the hearing today. — DayakDaily