Judges with Borneo experience to hear Sabah, Sarawak appeal cases

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong says the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court will resolve this matter administratively.

KOTA KINABALU: The federal government agrees that judges with Bornean judicial experience must be included when hearing matters arising from Sabah and Sarawak at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said the federal government and state governments of Sabah and Sarawak have similarly recognised and agreed on the importance of this Bornean representation last year.

“I agree entirely. Many times, there have been cases involving unique Bornean local conditions, culture and customs. These may have been best appreciated only by judges with Bornean judicial experience,” Liew said.

He said the requirement for Bornean judicial experience in hearing cases filed in Borneo is among the 17 issues agreed upon by the Special Cabinet Committee to review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

This committee is chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and includes the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers and their respective attorneys-general.

“This matter will be resolved administratively by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court,” he said in a statement today.

Liew was responding to Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin, who had highlighted the issue in his speech during the opening of the Legal Year 2020 in Kuching on Friday.

Liew added that the achievements of the special Cabinet committee stands unprecedented in Malaysia’s legal history and once more underscores the tremendous effectiveness of this highest-ranking decision-making committee.

“The federal government will continue to work with the Sabah and Sarawak governments in ensuring that the interests of Borneons are preserved and upheld, and that Sabah and Sarawak become equal partners in this federation,” he said.