Bornean judge for Court of Appeal

KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chief Baru Bian is hoping for an agreement that when the Court of Appeal hears cases from the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, one the judges would be from either one of the Bornean states.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the matter was among the issues discussed by the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) Special Cabinet Steering Committee.

Baru, who as a lawyer had raised the issue several times, said it is a relevant issue to be raised as it is consistent with the people’s desire and the Inter-Governmental Commission Report 1962 (IGC Report).

“The problem now is there is no clear provision on the matter in any law, so it is my hope that a decision on it would be made,” he told reporters after attending a Gawai Dayak open house organised by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) at Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) Hall yesterday.

“Regarding ‘judges with Bornean Experience’ to hear cases at the Court of Appeal, it could be interpreted as a judge from Peninsular Malaysia who had exposure and experience in the context of Sabah and Sarawak.

“But here we are talking about experience and having knowledge of the cultures and customs when deciding on cases in the context of the two states, and we must give credit to the judges,” he said.

He added that there have been some decisions by the court on the ‘Bornean Experience’, thus he would not comment further on it.

On the upgrading of the Sarawak Native Court to be on par with Civil Court and Syariah Court, Baru said when rectifying weaknesses in whatever system we have, reports and suggestions ought to be gathered from the grassroots.

“Having the experience in handling Native Court cases, I think there is still a need to improve ourselves and probably hold workshops or conferences to encourage and expose our judges to see on what can be done.”