Right to appoint judicial commissioners discussed by MA63 panel, says Sarawak AG

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong says Putrajaya is conscious of Bornean rights and powers and will continue to ensure Sabah and Sarawak enjoy equal partnership in the federation.

KUCHING: The issue concerning the rights of Sabah and Sarawak heads of state to appoint judicial commissioners was brought up at a Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) steering committee meeting, says Sarawak state attorney-general Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid.

“The committee has actually decided to let the courts work it out ‘administratively’. But we have yet to be informed on how this is going to be settled,” he said when met at the launching of the hydrogen bus service at Riverside Hotel here today.

However, Talat said the Sarawak state Attorney-General’s Chambers would look into the issue again as it is in the interests of the state.

Last Friday, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, David Wong Dak Wah said a constitutional amendment to Article 122AB in 1994 had been passed by Parliament without the consent of the Sabah and Sarawak governments, taking away the power of the states’ heads of state to appoint judicial commissioners.

Stating that the amendment was in contravention of Article 161E(2)(b), Wong called on the relevant stakeholders to look into the matter.

Following Wong’s statement, Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had also urged Putrajaya to restore the power of the heads of state in Sabah and Sarawak to appoint judicial commissioners.

He said if Putrajaya was serious about restoring the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as promised, then it should restore the power to appoint judicial commissioners.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said Putrajaya was conscious of Bornean rights and powers and would continue to ensure Sabah and Sarawak enjoy equal partnership in the federation.

According to him, the issue was one of the 17 matters which had been jointly approved by the federal government as well as Sabah and Sarawak in the MA63 steering committee meeting.

“The Attorney-General’s Chambers has been tasked with engaging the office of the chief registrar of the Federal Court and together resolve the matter,” he said, adding that the restoration of power would facilitate Bornean representation in hearing cases filed in Borneo.

He said judges with Bornean judicial experience are essential in ensuring justice is delivered, particularly in cases involving unique Bornean local conditions and customs.