KUCHING: The judiciary will continue with its mobile court programme in Sabah and Sarawak, signalling its commitment to improving access to justice in remote areas.
Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the programme was one way to bring justice to rural and remote communities in both states, where it was not feasible to set up courts in hard-to-reach locations.
“In Sabah and Sarawak, setting up newer courts may not necessarily alleviate logistical limitations for those in really remote areas.
“For this reason, the judiciary proposes to continue with its mobile court programme with greater vigour, ” she said in her keynote address at the national colloquium on access to justice here yesterday, organised by the judiciary and United Nations Development Programme Malaysia.
In addition, Tengku Maimum said remoteness could also be seen in terms of finances.
“We find that financial remoteness exists in the urban areas as much as they do in more rural ones. To this end, the judiciary’s mobile courts programme will also be expanded to encompass the urban poor.
“If one cannot access the courts, the courts will then make an active effort to reach out to them, ” she added.
The mobile court was introduced in 2007 to hear cases, provide legal services and assist with applications for personal documents in rural areas.
Speaking to reporters later, Tengku Maimun said the programme had made many improvements and inroads over the years.
“They have gone to various districts in Sabah and Sarawak as well.
“For children in remote areas, the officers along with the mobile court programme are also looking into the literacy aspect.
“When I joined the Sabah courts to go on a mobile court programme in SK Golong, our officers had an education programme where they engaged with young children to teach them, ” the Chief Justice said.
She added that education would help improve access to justice by helping rural communities understand their rights.