Sarawak Native Courts restructure to begin following passing of 4 Bills

Sikie reading his ministerial winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on May 13, 2024. Photo credit: Ukas
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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 13: The restructuring of the Sarawak Native Courts can only commence after the passing of four Bills seeking approval for the introduction of several new State laws and the repeal or amendment to existing laws.

Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Departent Datuk John Sikie Tayai said the Bills are the New Native Courts Bill to replace the current Native Courts Ordinance 1992; New Native Courts Rules to replace the current Native Courts Rules 1993; New Native Courts Judges Appointment Council and Native Courts Judges Remuneration Bill on the appointment and scheme of service for Native Courts Judges; and Amendment to the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak on the definition of ‘adat’.

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“The Native Courts of Sarawak will soon present a proposal to the Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri to seek approval for the introduction of several new State law and the repeal or amendment to existing laws under the jurisdiction of the State to provide the legal framework for the restructuring exercise,” he said.

Sikie explained that the restructuring is aimed at elevating the Native Courts to become an independent and autonomous full-fledged judicial institution similar to the Civil and Syariah Courts, having jurisdictions over matters relation to native laws and customs.

He said the transformation of the Sarawak Native Courts would be carried out in phases up to 2030 and resulting in changes to its hierarchy as well as organisational development in terms of operations and manpower requirements.

“Under the proposed restructuring of the Native Courts, the hierarchy of our Native Courts will comprise of two layers which are the Native Subordinate Court and the Native High Court.

“Under the Native Subordinate Court there will be the Native Magisrate Court as a court of first instance while the Native High Court will involve three-layers namely the Native High Court, the Native Court of Appeal and the Native Supreme Court as the apex court,” said Sikie.

For the record, the New Native Courts Bill was originally scheduled to be tabled at the ongoing Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) sitting. — DayakDaily

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