Published on: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Hajah Nancy Shukri, said having separate allocations for the judiciary in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively, for planning purposes may be a good idea but there has been no official request.
"It is a good suggestion from the media (Daily Express) since both states have their own separate High Courts. I would love to say, 'okay, Sabah should have a separate allocation for its judiciary' if they voice this out. I wouldn't mind because we are already given billions of ringgit.
"When you talk about allocation, it's the whole amount of money given to the two states.
That is the practice. It's up to them if they want to allocate it for the courts, etc.
If they want to do that, I am all out for it.
"They could put it (allocation) under the Heads of Courts within the budget that is given," she said in an exclusive interview during her official visit to the State, recently.
Daily Express had suggested that for the benefit of the people of both states which have unique attributes like terrain that are unlike in the peninsula, they should be entitled to their own separate allocations.
When told that Sabah could do with more mobile courts in the interior, instead of permanent structures costing millions of ringgit just to hear a few cases, she said:
"I did ask them. There's no problem in allocation as long as you are able to justify.
But if you add more and then nobody is going to man them, it will be a problem."
Nancy, who is MP for Batang Sadong (Sarawak), agreed that the mobile court concept has worked well for Sabah. She said she was also aware of the problem on the use of support vehicles for those administering this service who have to travel on bumpy and potholed roads in Protons instead of four-wheel drives.
On the pressing need for an additional Tawau court building, she said she had requested a copy of the proposal put up by the court. "Otherwise, I wouldn't know. It's good, at least they are putting it up. My duty is to convince the Government. We will do our very best to ensure the staff have the right environment to work in."
On the current review of laws, Nancy said 29 laws in the country are being researched, of which seven, including the Sedition Act, were given grants.
"The National Harmony Act is being drawn up to replace the Sedition Act 1948 as part of the country's political transformation plan," she added.
Given the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO), she said the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 would be invoked to combat serious crimes for now, pending the introduction of a new preventive law. She is a member of a special committee set up to formulate the new preventive law.
"We are looking into what the police think that is not sufficient.
Actually what we call obsolete laws are not really obsolete. We need them," she added.