High Court registry relocation needs Sarawak CM’s consent, says assistant law minister

Sulok Tawie
Assistant Minister of Law Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the relocation of the principal registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak to Kota Kinabalu must have prior consent of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (centre). ― Bernama pic

KUCHING, April 21 — The relocation of the principal registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak from here to Kota Kinabalu must have prior consent of Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Assistant Minister of Law Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said today.

She said this was the mandatory requirement under Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution that the chief minister must be consulted and gives his consent prior to the relocation.

“I believe the chief minister has not been consulted or have given his consent on the relocation,” she told reporters, referring to Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg.

She was asked to comment on a notice issued to the relevant parties by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Datuk Sri Latifah Mohd Tahar that the principal registry would be relocated to Kota Kinabalu, effective May 1.

Hasidah said the principal registry has always been in Kuching, not in Kota Kinabalu, even before Malaysia was formed in 1963.

“Now, they (Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government) suddenly want to move to Kota Kinabalu. We don’t know the reasons, but if they want to move, the state government and the chief minister must be consulted and give their consent.

“Otherwise, it is not constitutional. It is against the rule of law which the PH federal government must comply with,” she said.

Hasidah believed that relocating the principal registry to Kota Kinabalu is taking away Sarawak’s rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution without the knowledge of the chief minister.

On an announcement by de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong that the PH government has agreed to establish a special parliamentary select committee on the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), she said that this was what the Sarawak government has been saying all this while.

“It has always been our stand made known during the debate on the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament early this month,” she said, referring to the defeated amendment to Article 1(2) which sought to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah to the original position in 1963.

“Finally, they (PH federal government) agreed to our proposal to form PSC. This goes to show that we are correct from the start,” she said.

“It is another U-turn by the PH government after rejecting the proposal from our Members of Parliament,” she said, without elaborating.

The amendment Bill was defeated as it did not get the support of mandatory two-thirds of the total number of Members of Parliament for constitutional amendment to be passed.

Asked if the state government intends to table a motion on Article 1(2) in the coming session of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly, Hasidah said the Speaker Datuk Amar Asfia Awang Nasar will make the announcement later.

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