At least one judge from Borneo

KUCHING: The Court of Appeal must have at least one judge from the Borneo High Court (Sabah and Sarawak) when hearing cases.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this is one the issues being discussed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) steering committee.

“I have brought up this issue…this is because we have the Borneo High Court and High Court in Malaya, if there is an appeal to the appellate court, there must be one judge from either Sabah or Sarawak to hear the case,” he said during the state-level Gawai Dinner 2019 at Imperial Hotel here last night.

He said the reason was because only Sarawakians understand the culture of its people.

Abang Johari performs the ‘Omom Gerawan’ upon arrival at the State Gawai Dinner 2019 while Manyin, Uggah and others look on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“We must look into this, so that we can have a very structured way to manage ourselves.

“And for us we have authentic Gawai celebration, only you and I know, we understand, but some people don’t understand,” he said.

He said, as such understanding is a platform to achieve a more united Sarawak.

“And we Bumiputera, we have our masalah budaya (cultural problems) that are associated with the way we live through local beliefs and laws. For Muslims, they have their own court to adjudicate the problem. But for cases that involve our tradition, customs, we must have a very structured way to solve our problem,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he has instructed Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to form a committee and get experts to study and upgrade the Native Court to be equivalent with the Syariah and Civil Court.

“Sometimes, I feel that the Civil Court may not be that competent to handle our native rights issues.

“Therefore, I hope the committee will be able to improve and restructure our Native Court based on our customs and tradition in order to be able to solve matters related Native Customary Rights (NCR) land,” he pointed out.

Earlier, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin, who is also chairman of the state-level Gawai Dayak celebration urged the community to remain united as manifested by the theme ‘Indi Awang Indi Asung’, meaning “One Heart One Mind”.

This year’s month long Gawai Dayak celebration is hosted by the Bidayuh community.