KUCHING: The federal government did not consult Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (pic) on the relocation of the Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, says the Chief Minister's Office.
"It is confirmed that there was no consultation by the Prime Minister with the Sarawak Chief Minister on the matter, as required under Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution.
"The Sarawak government strongly objects to this non-compliance with the rule of law and views this relocation as unconstitutional," it said in a statement on Monday (April 22).
The CMO said the state government accepted that the final decision in the matter rests with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.
However, it also said that it was imperative for the fundamental constitutional process of consultation to be adhered to.
"If not checked, this unconstitutional act will have wider repercussions on the rights of Sarawak under the Constitution in the future," it added.
The relocation of the Registry effective May 1 sparked an uproar among lawyers and lawmakers in Sarawak when a circular announcing it was leaked online over the weekend.
The circular, dated April 19, was signed by Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar and reportedly sent to legal bodies and fraternities in the country.
De facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong subsequently said that the move was a legal and "purely judicial" decision.