KUCHING: Following a resolution from the Iban community in the Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has given assurance that the state government is committed in upgrading the Native Courts of Sarawak to be equivalent to the Syariah and Civil Courts.
According to him, the reason why the process of elevating the Native Court is taking some time is because a thorough study is required as there is a question of legal experts to be involved and the evolution of state customary laws.
Hence, he said there is a need to mitigate those issues first before the Native Court can be upgraded.
I have requested Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development and the Native Court to study this proposal.
We need the Native Court to be upgraded especially when it comes to dealing with customary land, we need to work in a certain framework of law which will be handled by the Native Court, he said during the closing ceremony of the Seventh Sarawak Cultural Symposium closing ceremony held at a local hotel here tonight.
Apart from that, Abang Johari pointed out that the Magistrate involved in the Native Court must be well versed in the local customs and common law behind the customary land as the native customary rights of the natives in Sarawak sometimes differ from those in any other parts of the country, let alone the other parts of the world.
Many Dayaks, especially the Ibans, still rely on the Native Court to resolve various matters such as on traditional customs and justice.
Thus, it was necessary for the Native Court of Sarawak to be in tandem with similar Court in Sabah because of the similarities in terms of needs of the natives in these two states.
The Sarawak Cultural Symposium is a symposium where various communities in the state get together and present resolutions of each community to the state government.
It is held once in every five years.
Source: Sarawak Government