KOTA KINABALU, SABAH – The Sabah government and the Sabah State Attorney-General should intervene in the Rural and Regional Development Minister’s suit against the Daily Express newspaper arising from the alleged turtle egg incident in Sandakan, President of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku, Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, said.
The Bingkor State Assemblyman, said this in support of the stand taken by fellow Gabungan Sabah partner, Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
“They, the Sabah government and the State Attorney-General, need to take the necessary action to safeguard Sabah Rights and the sanctity and separation of the High Court in Borneo from the High Court in Malaya,” Dr Jeffrey said.
“The separation of the Borneo High Court and the Malaya High Court was a key issue in the terms and conditions agreed to with the Federation of Malaya and Britain in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
“The clear separation of the two High Courts has continued until today and the separation of lawyers practicing in the Borneo States have also been enforced. Lawyers from Malaya and Sarawak would need to be admitted to practice in Sabah before they can handle Sabah cases,” he added.
He said that in the Minister’s suit against Daily Express which was filed in the High Court of Malaya, the facts of the turtle egg incident happened in Sabah and which was reported in the Daily Express, a local newspaper.
“However, the decision by the High Court in and the Court of Appeal to allow the suit to proceed in Malaya despite the application by Daily Express to strike out the claim and that the proper forum be in the Sabah courts, have wide and serious ramifications for Sabahans and Sabah rights as highlighted by Datuk Yong,” Dr Jeffrey said.
“To safeguard Sabah rights and the interests of Sabahans arising from the suit being allowed to proceed in Malaya instead of Sabah, the Sabah government and kthe State Attorney-General need to intervene and ensure that the basis of the formation of Malaysia pertaining to the separation of the High Court be preserved and honoured.”
He contends that should the state fails to intervene to fight for the separation of legal jurisdictions between the High Court in Borneo and the High Court in Malaya, it will mark another very sad case of constitutional violation to add to the numerous denial of Sabah rights and autonomy.