Transformation of Native Courts of Sarawak a reality soon

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Michael (third right) receives a parting gift from Native Court administrative officer Dahim Nadot on behalf of the staff. At left is Jonathan.

KOTA SAMARAHAN (April 5): The transformation of the Native Courts of Sarawak is now a few steps closer with the Cabinet paper to be presented this month, says outgoing Chief Registrar Datu Michael Dawi Alli.

He said the Cabinet paper was now in its final stage of preparation after a study on the transformation of the native court was completed and endorsed in January this year.

“The study was supposed to be (completed) in nine months but ended (up taking) two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now it is going to be presented to the government. The Cabinet paper is already in the final stage. If things go on well, hopefully this month we will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After that, a Bill will be tabled in the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) before everything is realised,” he said.

Michael said this in his farewell speech at the handing over of duties to the new chief registrar Jonathan Lugoh at the Native Court building here yesterday.

According to Michael again, he and the rest of the team at the Chief Registrar’s Office had been working hard to make this a reality.

Though he will no longer be in office to oversee the realisation, he said there is high hope the transformation of the Native Court would be realised soon.

“I have full confidence that the new Chief Registrar will be able to make it a reality. The stakeholders out of there are with you to see the matter materialised,” he added.

He said some of the elements in the present native court system were legacy of the Brooke era and now it is an opportunity to transform the system in line with the times while the people are getting more educated.

“Since we are an independent country, we should move with the times instead of being stagnant,” he said.

It is learnt that Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai will table the paper at the Cabinet meeting.

According to a news report on May 24 last year, a Bill to repeal the current Native Courts Ordinance 1992 and the Native Courts Rules 1993 and replace them with a new ordinance was originally scheduled to be tabled at the DUN last November.

The transformation of the Native Courts and elevate it into an independent judicial system equivalent to the Shariah and civil courts would commence after the new Native Courts Ordinance has been passed in the state assembly.

It was also previously reported that the state government has engaged a consultant to conduct a comprehensive study to determine the relevance of the Native Courts to meet the rising expectations of the stakeholders in today’s digitalisation and globalisation era.

Meanwhile, Michael called it a day after six years and two months as Chief Registrar of the Native Court.

It also marked the end of the 43 years and two months of his service in the Sarawak Civil Service.

He was appointed chief registrar on March 1, 2017 not long after his compulsory retirement, taking over from Datu Ganie Ugay.

Prior to that, he was the director of the Administration Unit in the Chief Minister’s Office, and also held the post of Resident in several divisions in the state.

Jonathan’s last post was Resident of Serian.