Fitting for Sabah to host High Court registry, says law society

Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin says talk about the need to justify the move has little value. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah law fraternity said it is fitting to relocate the High Court registry to the state since Sarawak has been hosting it from 1963.

Amid opposition from several Sarawakian lawyers to the relocation of the registry, Sabah Law Society (SLS) president Roger Chin said “neither Bornean state has a greater or lesser claim or right to host the registry of the High Court”.

“The Sabah Law Society welcomes the recent decision to relocate the registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak to Kota Kinabalu.

“SLS is warmed by the recognition of the relationship between Sabah and Sarawak vis-a-vis the High Court,” he said in a statement.

On Friday, several lawyers in Sarawak said they planned to challenge the decision to move the registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu.

One of them, Dominique Ng, said they were thinking of applying for a judicial review or filing an originating summons despite the decision to relocate the registry having been given royal consent.

“The registry is a symbol of Sarawak’s judicial system as it has existed even before the formation of Malaysia. We are talking about what ought to be the basic fundamental right of Sarawakians.

“This (decision to move the registry) is another argument in our favour on why we should be independent. We are not independent (and) those from Peninsular Malaysia would still continue making decisions for us without proper consent,” said Ng.

The relocation came into effect on Friday after the Sarawak government struck a compromise agreement with Putrajaya that the registry would be based alternately in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu on a 10-year rotation system.

The administration of the courts in the two states will not be affected by the move as it would only entail the shift in residence of the High Court.

“Given that the administration of the courts in Sabah and Sarawak will not be affected by the move, talk of the need to justify the relocation of the registry – as some have asserted – has little value,” Chin said.

He said Sabah would be a fitting venue to host the registry due to the recent completion of the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex that houses 16 courtrooms, 31 chambers and ample space for registries and sub-registries.