Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Upgrading Native Courts takes time: District Chief


Native Courts need to be streamlined with the Civil and Syariah courts, a District Chief said here yesterday. “But it will take time because Native Courts focus more on settling customary cases,” OKK Mohd Amir Datuk Arif told The Borneo Post here. Amir also said that District Chiefs and Native Chiefs must have basic knowledgç of law so that their rulings will not be disputed. “It is hard to update the Native Laws because of the different customs of the more than 30 ethnic groups in the State. “The Native Court’s jurisdiction is also limited to customs, land, marriage, divorce and property disputes,” he said. Many people forget their customs because they have embraced Islam or Christianity or because they have migrated to the towns to look for jobs, he added. Amir said the Village Chief posts should be taken over by retired teachers and policemen because of their wide experience with the community around them while future District Chiefs should have a law degree. Many teachers have a degree while policemen have expertise in law, he added. Amir also proposed upgrading District Chiefs to Second Class Magistrates with the authority to hear custom cases and sign Statutory Declaration forms.

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