Media Statement by Chong Chieng Jen:
Yesterday the Chief Minister of Sarawak issued an official statement that such a deci- sion to relocate the Registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu was not made after any consultation between him and the Prime Minis- ter. Under our Federal Constitution, Article 121(4) provides:-
“In determining where the principal registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak is to be, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister, who shall consult the Chief Ministers of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the Chief Judge of the High Court.”
These three persons i.e. Chief Minister of Sabah, Chief Minister of Sarawak and Chief Judge of the High Court, shall be consulted by the Prime Minister before the Prime Minister proceeds to advice the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. That is the condition of Article 121 of the Federal Constituion. Given the fact that the Chief Minister of Sarawak was not consulted, there is an omission of the duty that is imposed by the Federal Consti- tution particularly Article 121. As such the decision can be treated as unconstitutional and is not in line with the requirements set out by the Federal Constitution.
In the present issue, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan is on the same page and position as the Sarawak state government i.e. the decision for the relocation has to be put on hold or even withdrawn. On this matter, YB Alan Ling and I have discussed the matter with the de-facto Law Minister, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, on the unconstitutionality of the deci- sion and we have forward Sarawak Pakatan Harapan’s view of the matter. The new Federal Government places a lot of emphasis on the compliance of the rule of law and what more to say this is the Federal Constitution.
As such, I thereby urge the judiciary to put on hold the decision for the relocation and let the Federal Government review this matter. If needed, the decision to relocate the Registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak should be withdrawn. There is no ambiguity to this provision of the Federal Constitution. This is the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the country and the words are clear and unambiguous.
I would like to re-emphasise that in the present matter, the Chief Minister of Sarawak has issued an official statement to state that he was not consulted on the subject matter prior to this and we shall take his word that he was not been consulted. There- fore, the decision to relocate the Registry of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak is not in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Constitution.
Chong Chieng Jen
Deputy Minister of Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
ADUN Kota Sentosa