The federal government was only 'recently' informed of plans to relocate courthouse.
The Legal Affair Department under the Prime Minister’s Department was only informed about the state government’s decision to allocate a piece of land in Bukit Punai as the new location for the Court House here fairly recently.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department VK Liew said that though the allocation for the construction of the Court House comes under the Legal Affairs Department under his ministry, it is up to the state government to provide the site for the building.
An earlier proposal to construct the new court complex near the Likas mosque which was built inside a manmade lagoon was shelved after objections were raised about the high cost for land reclamation.
“Then it was proposed that extension be done to the present court’s site which received wide support from all quarters concerned..
“I do hope that the matter can be resolved quickly as the federal government is ready with the funds for the construction,” Liew said when contacted for comment.
On whether the federal government needs to be consulted on the state government’s proposal, he said it was up to the stakeholders, namely the people, judiciary and court personnel as well as public to agree with the locality of the new courthouse.
The relocation of the courthouse has caused some consternation among city dwellers amid claims that commercial projects would be put up once the buildings on the present site including the former state library are demolished but Liew said he knew of no such plans.
‘Right to assemble’
The deputy federal minister also said the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has a right under the recently passed Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 to stage a peaceful assembly over the issue.
“Anyone found in breach of the new law can be charged in court and be liable to fine or imprisonment if found guilty,” he said.
SAPP organised the static protest earlier this week to express objection to any move to use the five prime locations in the city centre, including the Court House for commercial development.
They insisted that even if the present government services on the land are shifted to a new place, the vacant land should be maintained for public use.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Yee Moh Chai who is also the Api-Api assemblyman said that even though the courthouse land is under the federal jurisdiction there was no proposal to commercially develop the area.