Monday, August 15

Sarawak govt inks pact for study on restructuring, elevation of Native Courts


KUCHING: The Sarawak government signed an agreement with consulting firm The E-Factor Sdn Bhd for the study on the restructuring and elevation of the Native Courts of Sarawak at a leading hotel here yesterday.

The study, which will be carried out from Jan 6 to Oct 9 this year, is primarily aimed at enhancing the relevance and status of the Native Courts in the administration of justice pertaining to native laws and ‘adat’ of the native population in Sarawak.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas was present to witness the signing of the agreement by Native Courts of Sarawak chief registrar Datu Michael Dawi Alli on behalf of the state government and The E-Factor chairman and director Datu Ose Murang.

Uggah expressed his confidence that The E-Factor, a consulting firm led by Ose, who is formerly deputy state secretary, will be able to find transformational solutions to restructuring and elevating the Native Courts.

“I am told that he has assembled a very experienced team of lawyers comprising a renowned law scholar in indigenous peoples’ rights, customs and usage and other local native lawyers, each bringing in their diverse and more than 30 years experiences from their various capacities as the state attorney general, judge, solicitors and advocates,” he said.

He added that also acting as advisors on specific legal matters are former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, who will be advising on constitutional law, and Caren Fox, a deputy chief judge advising on the Maori Land Courts of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Jaul in his speech said over 80 community leaders comprising all Bumiputera Temenggong, some Pemanca and Penghulu as well as Ketua Kaum from Serian, Samarahan and Kuching divisions were present at the ceremony yesterday for an engagement session with the consultants on the study.

“A similar engagement session will also be made with the community leaders and village chiefs on a regional basis in Miri, Sibu and Sri Aman.

“As far as the current Native Courts is concerned, these community leaders and chiefs are officials of the native courts particularly the lower courts which deal with breaches of the ‘adat’, marriages under customary laws and customs.

“They are important stakeholders and the consultants are engaging with as many of them as possible for their feedback, inputs and suggestions on their future role in the restructured Native Courts,” he said.

He pointed out that the consultants have already engaged with Residents and district officers who are the ex-officio magistrates of the Native Courts.

“I am also told that there will be similar engagements with all stakeholders including the Bumiputera elected representatives, experts in the local ‘adat’ and other personalities on local laws and customs,” he said.

Also present were Entrepreneur Development and Co-operatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai and Deputy State Legislative Assembly Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala.