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Judiciary in Sarawak comprise of High Court, Session Court, Magistrates, Syariah and Native Court
Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly, the oldest legislature in Malaysia, was established after its first inaugural meeting at Bintulu on 8th September 1867. Its first 21-member Sarawak General Council, headed by Rajah Charles Brooke, consisted of six of Brooke’s officers and 16 local community leaders. In 1903, the General Council was renamed Council Negeri.
In 1941, Brooke’s son, Vyner, established a written constitution known as the Constitution Order in Council during the 100th anniversary celebration of the Brookes’ rule in Sarawak. As a result, the Council Negeri membership numbers were increased to 24. Instead of Vyner Brookes (in his role as Rajah) the Chief Secretary was appointed to preside over the Council Negeri.
In 1963, the Council Negeri’s membership increased to 42. Since then, it rose incrementally to 48 in 1968, 56 in 1989, 62 in 1996 and 71 in 2006. In 1976, the Council Negeri was renamed the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN).
Administrative Division and Districts
Premier of Sarawak
In 1963, the Chief Minister of Sarawak is the head of the executive branch of the State Government in Sarawak. The Chief Minister is appointed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Governor of Sarawak, from the state’s Legislative Council.
The Dewan Undangan Negeri of Sarawak on 15th February 2022 passed several amendment to the constitution of the State of Sarawak. Amongst those amendment is that the term "Chief Minister" is to be restyled to "Premier".
Effective on 1st March of 2022. The Chief Minister of Sarawak addressed as the "Premier of Sarawak" and the Office of Chief Minister referred to "Office of the Premier of Sarawak".
» Visit Official website Office of the Premier of Sarawak
There have been six Premier of Sarawak since the office was created in 1963:
1. Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan (1963-1966)
2. Datuk Penghulu Tawi Sli (1966-1970)
3. Tun Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Ya'kub (1970-1981)
4. Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud (1981-2014)
5. YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Haji Adenan Bin Haji Satem (2014-2017)
6. YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg (2017 - present)
Yang di-Pertua Negeri
Sarawak has a Head of State or Yang di-Pertua Negeri or The Governor. He acts on the advice of the Premier of Sarawak. The members of the State Cabinet or members of the Supreme Council are Cabinet Ministers.
The Astana is the office and Official Residence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.
List of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak
- Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Bin Abang Sapiee (1963-1969)
- Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Haji Bujang Bin Tuanku Osman (1969-1977)
- Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin (1977-1981)
- Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Ya'kub (1981-1985)
- Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Muhammed Noor (1985-2001)
- Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin (2001- 2014)
- Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud (2014 - Now)
The Judiciary in Sarawak comprises of the High, Session & Juvenile Courts, the Sarawak Syariah Judicial Department, and the Native Court. Sarawak’s Judiciary is headed by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. He oversees the administration and working of all the various courts.
Generally, the High Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases which carry the death penalty
Generally, the High Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases which carry the death penaltyThe High Court has the jurisdiction to hear civil cases in respect of :
divorce and matrimonial causes; admiralty;
a) Bankruptcy and company cases;
b) Appointment and control of guardians of infants and their property;
c) Appointment and control of guardians of disabled persons and their estate; and
d) Grant of probates of wills and letters of administration.
The Sessions Court has the jurisdiction to try all offences other than offences punishable with death.
The Sessions Court has unlimited jurisdiction to hear:
a) running down cases, landlord and tenant, and distress;
b) to try other suits where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM250,000; and
c) with the consent of the parties involved, to try cases exceeding RM250,000 but the award is limited to the statutory limit of RM250,000 only.
A First Class Magistrate Court has the jurisdiction to try all offences where the maximum term of imprisonment provided by law does not exceed 10 years or which are punishable with fine only or cases involving robbery and housebreaking by night.
Generally, a First Class Magistrate may pass any sentence allowed by law not exceeding 5 years imprisonment; a fine of RM10,000; whipping up to 12 strokes; or any sentence combining any of the sentences aforesaid.
However, in some cases such as under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Betting Act 1953 the Magistrate may impose a fine higher than RM10,000.
A First Class Magistrate Court has the jurisdiction to try all actions and suits of a civil nature where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM25,000.
The Syariah Court
The Syariah Court which came under the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, was established as a separate department in 1991. The Syariah Courts has jurisdiction over matters of state Islamic law. Its objective is to hear and decide on civil cases involving divorce and matrimony, civil and property claims, guardianship of infants and, inheritance.
The Native Court
The Native Court administers the Native Courts System and enforces Native Customs (Adat). The Native Courts Rules (1993) provides valuable standard guidelines as to the mode of instituting proceedings and the manner in which cases should be dealt with.
A Chief Registrar who is the Chief administrator of Native Courts supervises all Registrars, who are District Officers and Sarawak Administrative Officers in charge of sub-districts.
With the Premier as head, the executive branch of the DUN (Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly) plans, executes and administers all policies and projects. The Premier of Sarawak is assisted by a Cabinet of State Ministers and State government agencies. Sarawak currently has 13 State Government Ministries. Each State Cabinet Minister, who may have more than one portfolio, Deputy Minister and a Permanent Secretary who acts as a Ministry’s administrative head.
Sarawak Civil Service
A WORLD CLASS CIVIL SERVICE
Our mission is to deliver excellent service through high performance teamwork
Common Shared Values
- Kind and Caring
- Sense of Urgency and Ownership
- Team Spirit
Sarawak State Secretary Office,
Level 20 , Wisma Bapa Malaysia
Petra Jaya, 93502 Kuching
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