Abang Johari

KUCHING: Up and coming lawyers must be trained in Sarawak laws in their law education syllabus, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari said.

He said most locally trained lawyers who studied law in Malaya were taught based on syllabus that excluded the history of Sarawak and its laws.

“So, a lawyer from that side does not know Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and native laws. They don’t study that as they are confined to Malaya only.

“This is because the law faculties are in Malaya only, so they don’t study the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Sarawak Land Code as these are not in the syllabus,” he said.

He said these during an exclusive interview with New Sarawak Tribune today.

Abang Johari said studying MA63 was crucial as it was part and parcel of the evolution of Sarawak laws.

“In Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, they study based on Commonwealth Law that applies there. Here, when I asked them (the lawyers) whether they studied MA63, they said no.

“MA63 is part of the evolution of our law, because the provisions are made under the Federal Constitution under Article 112 and the Ninth Schedule. It should be in their studies,” he said.

The chief minister said there were plans to open a law faculty at Swinburne University for the purpose of producing lawyers who know about local laws.

“Swinburne wanted to open a law faculty, but the Education Ministry put the request on hold. But I want to pursue this as while we have the international law subject, we also need to have local laws included,” he said.

Abang Johari also said with participation and deliberation on subjects such as MA63 in an academic setting, it would be an academic exercise without political sentiments or emotions involved.