PBK president files legal bid to block non-Sarawakian lawyers from practising in the state

Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan said he had filed the application in the High Court here yesterday morning as intervener against the two lawyers. — Borneo Post Online pic
Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan said he had filed the application in the High Court here yesterday morning as intervener against the two lawyers. — Borneo Post Online pic

KUCHING, Aug 27 — Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan has filed a court application to prevent two non-Sarawakian lawyers from setting up their offices in the state.

He said in a statement that he had filed the application in the High Court here yesterday morning as intervener against the two lawyers.

Voon did not identify the lawyers but he described them as having had “very high judicial office in the country before they retired.”

“I am doubtful whether their applications could meet the requirements of residency in Sarawak because they’re not Sarawak-born people. Both of them are from Sabah and had served in Sarawak before,” said Voon.

“If their applications are allowed this will open the floodgates for West Malaysian lawyers to practise in Sarawak,” he added.

Voon also said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) states that lawyers from outside Sarawak are restricted from practising law in the state unless they could meet the requirements under the Sarawak Advocates Ordinance 1953.

“If allowed to intervene in their applications I shall assemble a team of senior lawyers of the Sarawak Bar to help me study and appear with me to argue the case before the court,” he said.

“If this right could be taken away there is nothing more Sarawak could protect under the MA63 because if allowed, the autonomy on immigration rights could also be diluted or removed.”

For peninsular Malaysians or Sabahans to work in Sarawak, a work permit under immigration law must be issued, he said.

Voon said he had asked for documents on the applications made by both petitioners from the court and the Sarawak Advocates Association but was unsuccessful.

He also said he did not know the stand taken by the Sarawak government, the Sarawak AttorneyGeneral’s Chambers and by the association on the applications.

It is learnt that tomorrow, former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and former Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah or their local legal representatives will be appearing at the High Court here for a hearing of petitions for their admission as advocates in the state.

When contacted, Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) Kuching branch vice chairman Liew Tan Chieh said the branch has conveyed its stance to AAS Central Committee that there must be strict compliance of Section 2(2) (a), (b) or (centre) of the Advocates Ordinance 1953.

The section basically states that only lawyers with Sarawak connection can practise in Sarawak. — Borneo Post Online

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