Sarawak Speaker says Bill to amend Native Courts not on cards this sitting

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 13 — A much anticipated Bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance will not be tabled at next week’s sitting of the Sarawak State Assembly, Speaker Tan Sri Asfia Awang Nasar said today.

He said neither he nor State Assembly Secretary Pele Peter Tinggom received any notification from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai to table the Bill.

He said a minister or his deputy is required to give at least a one day’s notice prior to the assembly sitting for any proposal to be presented during working hours, and cited Standing Order 44 to be read together with Standing 24(1((2) of the Sarawak State Assembly.

“It also cannot be presented while the sitting is in progress,” he told reporters attending the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) supreme council meeting here.

“As such, there is no Bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance,” he said, responding to a previous statement by Deputy Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Gerald Rentap Jabu.

On May 9, Rentap had claimed that a Bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance was among the new Bills to be tabled at the State Assembly which starts its sitting from May 15 to 24.

Rentap had said the Speaker would make an announcement on the Bills, including the Bill to amend the Native Courts Ordinance, after the GPS supreme council meeting.

In May last year, Sikie had said a Bill on a new Native Courts Ordinance was expected to be tabled at the next State Legislative Assembly later in the year.

He had said the proposed new ordinance would repeal the current Native Courts Ordinance 1992 and the Native Courts Rules 1993 to pave the way for the state to transform its Native Courts.

He had said the proposed transformation of the Native Courts Sarawak would commence in earnest only after the new Native Courts Ordinance has been passed.

He had said efforts had been made by the Sarawak government to elevate the Native Courts Sarawak into an independent judicial system equivalent to the Shariah and Civil Courts.