KOTA KINABALU: The Penampang Native Court is preparing a date to hear the case involving lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph who had allegedly defamed and made derogatory remarks about the Unduk Ngadau cultural pageant recently.
Penampang Native Court chief Charles Masius said they had received official complaints from two parties – the Sabah Unduk Ngadau Association and a group of 47 village chiefs from the district.
The native court in Sabah hears native customary rights and other related matters.
Since Marcel had allegedly spoken ill of the Unduk Ngadau pageant, which is a huge part of Sabah natives’ beliefs and culture, and touched on the customs of natives, hence the Native Court has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The case is now more relevant with Kadazandusun Cultural Association president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the Huguan Siou or paramount leader of the Kadazandusun Murut, calling for action to be taken against Marcel and a sogit (customary fine) to be imposed.
Usually, for native court cases, the plaintiff and defendant will be called for a hearing before a sogit or other penalties are imposed, said Charles.
The same would go for this case, where they would look at the offences such as langgar adat (breach of customs), defaming the image of natives and tarnishing the image of the Unduk Ngadau pageant and contestants, among others, he added.
He said the sogit would depend on the outcome of the hearing.
He said the defendant could also face jail time for certain cases.
Marcel said he was willing to cooperate with the native court and attend its hearing when called.
Marcel is the lawyer representing Sabah STAR party leader Phillip Among who was accused of molesting two Unduk Ngadau contestants.
He had allegedly stated in his notes for the bail submission for Phillip comparing the Unduk Ngadau to a “cattle show”.
He had likened the pageant to an “exotic cattle show” and an “auction” in his three-page submissions which went viral.
He maintained the words were never uttered in open court during the hearing at the Magistrate’s Court here last week.
Marcel apologised for the matter but said it was not retractable.