KUCHING: The rejection of the emergency motion to reiterate and protest in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday against the decision to relocate the Office of the Registrar of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu is “unfortunate”, said Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Abdullah Saidol.
Abdullah, who is in charge of corporate affairs and Sarawak Public Communications Unit, said although the motion was rejected, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar admitted that the motion and its subject matter were ‘very good’.
The emergency motion was submitted by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How in the august House but was rejected on technical grounds in that it was not submitted at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of yesterday’s sitting at 9am.
The relocation of the Registrar is effective tomorrow (Nov 15).
“On behalf of GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak), we share the same concern similar to what has been tabled by See in his motion and we equally support and concur with his concern.
“We appear today in solidarity on behalf of the legal fraternity that we are concerned about the relocation of the Registrar to Sabah. We want to show our support to his motion even though it was rejected in the chamber,” Abdullah told a press conference held jointly with See and Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
Sharifah Hasidah said under Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution, in determining the location of the principal registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister, who shall consult with the chief ministers of both states and the Chief Judge of the High Court.
“Actually we have expressed our view on this, that we are not agreeable to the move, but then again the decision is from the Agong based on the advice of PM (prime minister). So we respect that decision. The decision (to relocate the Registrar) has been made actually,” she said.
Earlier in the DUN, See had argued that it is the power of the DUN Speaker to waive the requirement of a 24-hour notice to table the motion, and that the discretion should be exercised in this case considering the urgency and importance of the matter.
However, Mohd Asfia said that his ruling to reject the debate of the motion was also made in view of the passing of the motion made on April 30 this year, that under the Standing Order, a motion on the same subject matter cannot be moved and be debated in the House twice unless the latter is a motion of rescission.
The DUN, on April 30, unanimously called upon the state government to stand firm against any move to relocate the principal registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and also to undertake all necessary engagement and actions to protect the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and to safeguard the inviolable constitutional rights of Sarawak.
On April 19, a circular signed by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court had stated that the registry would be relocated to Kota Kinabalu on May 1.
The relocation did not occur following strong objection from the Chief Minister’s Office as well as the state’s legal fraternity.