Sabah lawyers to work with government to update outdated state laws

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah lawyers are keen to work with the state government to update state laws to be more in tune to the needs of the present day.

Sabah Law Society (SLS) president Roger Chin (pic) these were among the items discussed during a courtesy call to the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on Friday (Sept 29).

Chin said many of the state laws were outdated and not in consonance with the times.

"Many of our state laws are outdated such as the Land Ordinance and Subsidiary Title Enactment to name a few. The colonial era laws are especially outdated," he said on Tuesday (Oct 3).

He added that the Maintenance Ordinance of 1959 provides for the maintenance of wives and children, including illegitimate children.

According to the existing law, Chin said, any person with sufficient means but neglected or refused to contribute to maintain his wife or legitimate child who were unable to maintain themselves, the court upon due proof could instruct such person to make a monthly allowance to his wife and child in proportion to the means of such person as to the Court deemed reasonable.

In the case of an illegitimate child, he said, the court could impose such an order for a monthly allowance not exceeding RM50 in the whole as to the Court seems reasonable.

"If one has an illegitimate child, then the most that person has to pay to maintain the child is RM50 a month.

"An illegitimate child is still a child and should be maintained accordingly. This should be similar to this applicable in Peninsular Malaysia," he said.

Towards this end, Chin said many such state laws did not require a lot of consultation and could be amended swiftly.

What was required, he added, was a systematic sweeping through of all the state laws to update and ensure it met with the needs of the present time.

Towards this end, he urged for the state law reform committee formed previously under former state attorney general Datuk Stephen Foo Kiat Shin to be revived.

"The committee would be a good public/private partnership which would help address the lack of resources of either side," Chin said.

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