SUPP Youth tells court Sarawak entitled to bar non-residents from practising law in state

SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang said this was to safeguard and promote Sarawak’s special position and rights according to the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. — File picture by Sulok Tawie
SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang said this was to safeguard and promote Sarawak’s special position and rights according to the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. — File picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Aug 28 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth today urged the High Court to strictly interpret the Federal Constitution and Sarawak’s Advocates Ordinance when scrutinising the applications of two non-resident lawyers to practise in Sarawak.

SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang said this was to safeguard and promote Sarawak’s special position and rights according to the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“It is the state’s constitutional right to restrict non-residents of right to practise before courts in Sarawak,” Tiang, who is also a member of the Sarawak Bar, said.

Although he did not identify the applicants, he is believed to be referring to two former High Court judges who applied to enter the Sarawak Bar last month.

The two had served in the High Court in Sarawak.

Tiang cited Article 161B of the Federal Constitution that provides for the Sarawak Bar to confine the right to practise in the state to the local lawyers only.

“Our Advocates Ordinance also requires only persons with Sarawak connection are allowed to be admitted as an advocate to practise before courts in Sarawak.

“All these statutory provisions not only expressly manifest one of Sarawak’s many special position and rights in Malaysia, more importantly the laws are there to protect Sarawak lawyers’ interests by encouraging Sarawak lawyers to grow and develop our own Sarawak Bar,” he added.

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