Speaker: No bill to amend Native Courts Ordinance to be discussed in upcoming DUN sitting

Asfia speaks to the press while Pele (right) looks on during a press conference at PBB headquarters on May 13, 2023.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 13: No bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance has been scheduled for discussion in the upcoming session of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) next week.

DUN Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said to date, neither he nor DUN secretary Pele Peter Tinggom, had received any notification from Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai regarding the tabling of a bill to amend the Ordinance.

“To date, we have not received (the bill),” he said during a press conference after attending a DUN Sarawak pre-council meeting at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headquarters here today.

The clarification was in response to a news report by an English daily on May 10, where Deputy Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development-cum-Layar assemblyman Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu mentioned that a bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance would be among the new bills to be tabled in next week’s DUN sitting.

Asfia cited Standing Order 44 which states that “A Minister or Deputy Minister may after at least one day’s notice present a Bill without an order of the Dewan for its introduction, and when a Bill is so presented, the title of the Bill shall then be read by the Secretary at the Table and the Bill shall then be deemed to have been read the first time and shall stand for second reading at the same or subsequent sitting of the Dewan.”

He also cited Standing Order 24(1) which states “Where under any Standing Order (or according to the practice of the Dewan) notice is required, such notice shall be sent to the Secretary in writing during normal office hours” and Standing Order 24(2) that reads “Every such notice shall be signed.”

“There is no bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance at this coming sitting and the necessity of deliberating and elaborating on its content therefore, does not arise,” he added.

Asked if the notice to table such a bill can be given during the DUN session, he replied in negative.

“No, it cannot. I am bound by Standing Order 44 and Standing Order 24. (It must be given) before the session starts. Without the notification, then there’s no bill,” he emphasised. – DayakDaily