KUCHING: The Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) welcomes the decision not to relocate the Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, saying the rule of law has prevailed in the matter.
AAS president Ranbir Singh Sangha (pic) said implementing the relocation without the Prime Minister's consultation with the Chief Minister of Sarawak, as required by Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution, would have set a bad precedent.
"We are relieved that it has been recognised that the omission to consult the Chief Minister of Sarawak was unconstitutional, and as such, the Registry would remain in Kuching for the time being.
"However, perhaps a step further should be taken to revoke the approval to relocate the Registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, as contained in the letter dated April 19," he said in a statement on Tuesday (April 23).
The April 19 letter from the Federal Court's Chief Registrar announced that the Registry here would be moved to Kota Kinabalu effective May 1, but another letter dated April 23, stated that the planned relocation would not be implemented.
Ranbir said the AAS had viewed the manner of the relocation with "grave concern" over the past few days, as it did not comply with Article 121(4).
He said in January this year, the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak sought the AAS' views about relocating the Registry to Kota Kinabalu, which was opposed by the association.
"The proposal was for a 15-year rotation cycle between Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
"We appreciate the fact that we had the opportunity to provide our views to the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak.
"The AAS had opposed, and still opposes the relocation of the Registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu," he said.
He added that if further attempts were made to move the Registry, the AAS would request a meeting with the Chief Minister to put forward its views before the Chief Minister is consulted by the Prime Minister on the matter.
Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registry staying put