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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

AG cautions Judges, Lawyers to anticipate challenging year ahead

Gani Patail (right), Chief of Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria at the opening the legal year for Sabah and Sarawak .
Gani Patail (right), Chief of Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria at the opening the legal year for Sabah and Sarawak .

KOTA KINABALU – Malaysian judges and lawyers can anticipate another challenging year ahead, especially in the wake of extremism threats in the country, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said today.

He said legal professionals had to be prepared for cases on terrorism, extremism and radicalisation which could be brought to court.

“These threats are particularly insidious and the most difficult kind to address.”

“But such threats require firm and resolute, yet level-headed, calm and humane responses,” he said when opening the legal year for Sabah and Sarawak here.

Abdul Gani gave the assurance that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was committed to ensuring the highest quality of legal advice and timely prosecution in the ongoing security cases in the country.

He said this included the ongoing hearing of 30 people accused of intrusion in Lahad Datu as well as the enforcement of the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 extended to Sabah and Sarawak on April 2 last year.

“For this purpose, resident deputy public prosecutors have been placed in the major districts such as Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau to fortify public confidence that offenders will be brought to justice expediently,” he said.

According to Abdul Gani, further action was also anticipated in relation to the enforcement of Malaysia’s immigration laws with the release of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on illegal immigrants in Sabah last month.

On calls for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia, he emphasised that aside from being seditious, such an act went against the spirit of federalisation.

“The social contract with Sabah is based on safeguard conditions contained in the 20-Point Agreement, while that with Sarawak is based on the 18-Point Agreement. Both were considered by the Inter-Governmental Commission set up on the recommendation of the Cobbold Commission in 1962.

“These are historical facts. They are recorded for posterity in the relevant reports of these commissions. They should be read, appreciated and properly understood by every succeeding generation of Malaysians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Gani said there was a need for proper appointments of Native Court judges on issues pertaining to Native Customary Rights (NCR) to land.

In concurring with Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum’s proposal during the Sabah Native Customary Rights Symposium in September 2013, the Attorney-General said those judges must be appointed among impartial and legally qualified persons with a full grasp of the native laws to enable Native Courts to be on par with the Civil and Syariah Courts.- BERNAMA

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