Press Statement By Sim Kiat Leng:
Tnay Li Ping should not politicise the issue respecting the admission of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum who was the former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak (CJSS) for approximately 12 years and also at one point of time the Chief Justice of Malaysia. Throughout his tenure as the CJSS, the principal registry office of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak was at Kuching.
Under Section 4(2)(c) of the Advocates Ordinance, a legally qualified person shall be eligible to be admitted as an Advocate if he has ‘Sarawak connections’. The phrase ‘Sarawak connections’ is not defined in the Advocates Ordinance or any applicable law. However, Section 2(2) of the Advocates Ordinance provides a deeming provision which states 3 categories of cases where a person ‘shall be deemed’ to have Sarawak connection:
(a) He has been born in Sarawak;
(b) He has been ordinarily resident in Sarawak for a continuous period of 5 years or more; or
(c) Satisfies the Chief Judge that he is, at the time when the question whether he has
Sarawak connections is relevant, domiciled in Sarawak.
The legal presumption of the deeming provision in Section 2(2) of the Advocates Ordinance is not exhaustive. There are other factors which the court may look into before deciding whether such a person is eligible to be admitted as an advocate in Sarawak. In the present case besides being CJSS with its principle registry in Kuching, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum was granted permanent residency in Sarawak in 2016. During the hearing of admission of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, there was also no objection from our State Attorney General and Advocates Association of Sarawak. If indeed there was no Sarawak connection, surely at the very least the State Attorney General would have objected to the petition for admission.
In fact, prior to the admission of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, there were numerous Sabahan and/or West Malaysian who were also admitted to Sarawak Bar, for example:
(a) Peter Lo (Roll No. 1 1 )( 1960) – Chief Minister of Sabah
(b) Nik Hashim (Roll No. 222)( 1 983) – from Kelantan, former Federal Court Judge, based on the fact he worked as Head of Prosecution in Sarawak for about 2 and half years.
(c) Huang Chew Siong (Roll No. 331)(1987) – from Kelantan, based on the fact he was the Head of Royal Malaysian Air Force for more than 2 years.
(d) Fung Lee Folk (Roll No. 959)(2005) – from Johor, based on the fact he served as a police in Sarawak for many years until he retired as Chief Inspector of Police in Sarawak.
(e) Zamri bin Ibrahim (Roll No. 1029)(2007) – from Negeri Sembilan, based on the fact he worked as Magistrate, Deputy Registrar and Sessions Court Judge in Sarawak for few years.
(f) Portia Team (Roll No. 1505)(2018) – a Sabahan, Deputy Registrar of the High Court, based on her service as a Magistrate and Senior Assistant Registrar in Sarawak for about 10 years.
As a politician, Tnay Li Ping should know that the test for the qualification of the admission to Sarawak Bar and the qualification to be a Sarawak ADUN are two completely different tests. The qualifications to be admitted as a Sarawak advocates is ‘Sarawak connection’ whilst the qualification of a Sarawak ADUN is ‘resident in the state’.
I also stressed that the law of admission as an advocates was passed by the BN government which is the GPS now. If Tnay Li Ping has any issue with the law, she should bring this matter to SUPP and GPS law maker.
Therefore, I urged that Tnay Li Ping to stop commenting on the issue and showcase herself as very learned in this aspect of the law. Likewise, Tnay Li Ping should not be politicising the admission of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to the Sarawak Bar especially when this matter had already been decided by the current Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak.
Sim Kiat Leng
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen