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Official Press Statement on “Ops Daulat” Legal Representation - April 11, 2013

On 8 April 2013, it was reported that the Embassy of the Philippines had officially retained Datuk R. Sivananthan and James Tsai to be its counsel for all Filipino citizens arrested and charged under ‘Ops Daulat’.

SLA welcomes and respects the decision of the Embassy of the Philippines in retaining the services of the above 2 well experienced counsel for this matter. Part of the fundamental right of access to justice is the accused’s right to be represented by a counsel of choice.

Meanwhile, we wish to put it on record that the legal practice in Sabah remains the exclusive right of lawyers called to the Sabah Bar as guaranteed under Article 161B of the Federal Constitution. Datuk R. Sivananthan and any other prospective counsel from outside Sabah may only appear in the Sabah Courts after they have successfully obtained the permission of the Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak through ‘ad-hoc’ admission pursuant to s. 10(c) of the Advocates Ordinance (Cap. 2).

Therefore, like any other applications for ‘ad-hoc’ admission, we urge applicants to comply and be guided with the usual guidelines regarding ‘ad-hoc’ admission in making their application.

Since 25 March 2013, in response to the request by the Honourable Attorney General, SLA has assembled a team of lawyers to provide legal representation to persons charged under ‘Ops Daulat’. However, being a voluntary body it must be reminded that SLA is financially constrained in its efforts.

Nevertheless, we wish to state that SLA’s legal team would still provide its assistance to those persons charged under ‘Ops Daulat’ who are not covered by the Embassy’s legal representation. This category may include Malaysian citizens and ‘stateless’ accused who are still entitled to due process before the law. Further, SLA would also continue to cooperate with the Embassy and all relevant parties to render our services whenever the opportunity arises.

Dated this 11 April 2013.

Datuk GBB Nandy @ Gaanesh
Sabah Law Association

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