Tuesday, November 24

High Court to rule on former CJ’s admission to Sarawak Bar

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KUCHING: The High Court ruling on whether the admission of Sabahan and former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malamjun as advocate in Sarawak is illegal, null, and void, will be delivered on Dec 11.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew fixed the date yesterday after hearing the submission by plaintiff Voon Lee Shan, who filed an originating summons application in October seeking the court’s declaration that Malamjun’s admission as advocate in Sarawak is illegal, null, and void.

Voon’s main contention is that Malamjun did not fulfil the requirement of ‘Sarawak connection’ before he could be admitted to the Sarawak Bar.

He also contended that Malanjum failed to obtain exemption from pupilage and exemption from undergoing the etiquette course before filling his petition for admission.

Voon had argued that Malanjun should have first applied for the exemption of 12-month  pupillage before applying to be admitted to be advocate in Sarawak, but managed to do it in four days after filing the admission petition, which Voon claimed only went to make the admission application incompetent.

According to Voon, without getting approval for exemption of an etiquette course, which is also a prerequisite to be admitted to the Sarawak Bar, is in breach of the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953.

He argued that even the permanent resident status which Malanjum has acquired could not constitute ‘Sarawak connection’ under Section 2(2) of the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance.

The Advocates Ordinance 1953 states only those with Sarawak connection can practise in Sarawak and a person is deemed to have Sarawak connections if they are born in the state, have been a resident here for a continuous period of five years or more, and are domiciled in Sarawak.

The respondent, however, insisted that Voon has no locus standi to object to his admission as lawyer in Sarawak.

On Sept 15, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim dismissed Voon’s intervener application and ordered Voon to pay costs totalling RM30,000 because the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) and Sarawak State Attorney-General’s Chamber (SAG) had no objection to admit Malanjum to the Sarawak Bar.

Abang Iskandar also decided that Voon has no locus standi to be the intervener to object to Malamjun’s application.

This failed bid, prompted Voon to file the originating summons application against Malamjun’s admission as lawyer in Sarawak.