Voon challenges Malanjum’s admission to Sarawak Bar 

Lim Heng Choo (file photo).

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Oct 5:  An originating summons have been filed in Kuching High Court last week by Senior Counsel Voon Lee Shan to dismiss the order to enrol former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum in the roll of advocates in Sarawak as null and void.

Voon through RJ Noel Advocates Kuching, also seek to dismiss the High Court exemption order and order of admission, both dated Sept 15, 2020 involving Malanjum case to be illegal.

Lead Counsel for Voon, Lim Heng Choo, together with RJ Noel, is contending that Malanjum has failed to obtain exemption from pupilage and exemption from undergoing the etiquette course before filling the latter’s petition for admission.

“He (Malanjum) should apply first for the exemption of 12-month pupillage before applying to be admitted to be a lawyer of Sarawak.  However, he did it only four days after he filed the admission petition, thus making his admission application incompetent,” said Lim.

Lim further pointed out that until now, there has been no application for exemption of the etiquette course, which is also a prerequisite to be admitted to Sarawak Bar.

“As such, the filling of the petition for admission was in breach of the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953.

“Further, the defendant (Malanjum) has also failed to show that he has a Sarawak connection to be admitted to become an advocate in Sarawak.  The defendant had contended that he had acquired permanent residence status bu the document merely shows an entry pass, which is not equivalent to permanent resident status.

“A long entry pass issued by the Immigration Department is not permanent resident status.  And even permanent resident status cannot constitute ‘Sarawak connection’ under Section 2(2) of the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance,” Lim told DayakDaily.

The Advocates Ordinance 1953 states only those with Sarawak connection can practice in Sarawak.  It further states that a person is deemed to have Sarawak connections if they are born in the state, have been a resident here for a continuous period of five years or more and are domiciled in Sarawak.

Voon who is also Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president had in August, 2020 filed an intervener application on the admission petitions of two Sabahan prominent lawyers – Malanjum and former Chief Justice of Sarawak and Sabah (CJSS) David Wong Dak Wah to practise in Sarawak.

CJSS Mr Justice Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim on Sept 15, 2020 dismissed Voon’s application and ordered Voon to pay costs totalling RM30,000, following which Kuching High Court based on the non-objection of Advocates’ Association of Sarawak (AAS) and Sarawak State Attorney-General’s Chamber (SAG) admitted Malanjum to Sarawak Bar.  

David Wong’s application to be admitted to the Sarawak Bar on the other hand, will be heard this coming Thursday (Oct 8, 2020).

In Voon’s intervener application case, Voon was represented by Lim Heng Choo, R.J. Noel, Patrick Voon King Fatt, Tiong Ing Neng, Ardi Termizi, Bartholomew Lopez and Steven Sia.

SAG was represented by Nur Azhar Bujang and Tarmizi Mohamad Tazuddin while the Association of Advocates Sarawak was represented by its president Ranbir Singh.

Both petitioners Sabahan prominent lawyers – Richard Malanjum and Wong were represented by Tan Kee Heng and Chong Siew Chiang.  — DayakDaily