Sarawak, Sabah should each have own High Court, says lawyer

MIRI: Sabah and Sarawak ought to have their own respective High Court and Chief Justice to reflect the equal partner spirit in the formation of Malaysian in 1963, says lawyer Datuk Lawrence Lai.

He said doing so would do away with the ‘polemics and political noise’ which could cause unhappiness and disharmony among the people in both states.

Datuk Lawrence Lai

“Let us have three High Courts that are separate but equal in status – one Registry each in Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak with three Chief Justices headed by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Lai was asked for his take on the decision to relocate the Office of the Registrar of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, which takes effect today.

On Wednesday night, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that a compromised had been reached whereby the relocation of the Registry will be based on a 10-year rotation, starting in Kota Kinabalu.

Lai, meanwhile, expressed unhappiness with the federal government’s decision to move the Registry for the first time since independence, calling it a waste of money, resources and time.

According to him, the decision to relocate the Registry was mooted following the failed bid in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution earlier this year.

“This gives the impression that it (relocation) is a political move, and while it may appear as a simple relocation to the public, it could also be interpreted as political to split the unity of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Meanwhile, Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) in a notice to members said while it opposed the move, due process of the law had taken place “and as such, we have to respect the rule of law”.

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