By Lian Cheng and Ling Hui
KUCHING, Sept 7: Sarawak lawyer Voon Lee Shan apologised in court today for his statements insinuating that the Kuching High Court, Sarawak Attorney-General’s Chambers (SAG) and Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) are “concealing” information pertaining to two Sabahans’ applications to practise law in Sarawak.
One of Voon’s legal counsels, Lim Heng Choo, made the apology when the case presided by Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim was in session.
Today’s hearing was held following Voon’s intervener application on the applications of former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and former Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah (CJSS) Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah to practise law in Sarawak.
Malanjum, who retired from his duties in April, 2019 and Wong in February 2020, are both Sabahans.
Voon submitted his intervener application as he strongly objected to the applications by the former chief justices of Malaysia and Sarawak and Sabah respectively.
He asserted that it is stated clearly in the law that lawyers outside of Sarawak are not allowed to conduct any legal activity in the state unless they can meet the requirements of the law under the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953 which 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.
Voon had also in a press statement dated Aug 27, 2020 claimed that he had asked for documents on the applications made by both petitioners from the court and AAS but the attempt was not successful.
On this, AAS president Ranbir Singh expressed his discontentment.
Ranbir also expressed his disappointment that Voon had cast aspersions that the former being closely related to Malanjum, did not object to the latter’s application.
Ranbir held Voon accountable for these accusations and indicated that Voon may be taken to court and be held in contempt of court.
Abang Iskandar interjected and affirmed Ranbir’s protests and warned Voon of the seriousness of these allegations where Sarawak’s judiciary was also among the parties to “conceal” information with regards to the applications of the two former chief justices.
In response, Lim duly apologised and withdrew all the allegations made against all parties including the Court, AAS and SAG.
As the allegations were widely published in the media, Ranbir held that apologies should also be made via newspapers. The demand, however, was shot down by Abang Iskandar as he did not want to exacerbate matters, advising Voon that Sarawakians may enjoy freedom of aspersions but such freedom needs to be exercised with care. — DayakDaily