28th June, 2012
SIPITANG: The concept of mobile court, an innovative idea introduced in Sabah in 2007, has helped expand access to civil justice and legal services to the people in remote areas in the state.
The implementation of the concept has also been seen as an effort to help rural communities in overcoming the issues of late registration of birth.
Kampung Long Pasia, a village with a population of about 500 people of the Lundayeh tribe and located at the border triangle of Sabah, Sarawak and East Kalimantan, Indonesia, is one of the locations which had been frequented four times by the mobile court since 2009.
Village head, Mudin Sia, 60, said the mobile court’s operation was introduced in Long Pasia with the cooperation from the National Registration Department (NRD), and thus, had also expedited the applications for identity cards and birth certificates for children in the village.
“Before the mobile court came to our village, the residents had to keep their temporary identity card receipts for over 10 years and wouldn’t know if something was wrong with their applications.
“Some of the residents even died waiting for an identity card,” he said when met at the two-day Mobile Court Programme in Kampung Long Pasia, about 123km from here recently.
Mudin said the existence of the mobile court had also increased awareness about the importance of having an identity card among the people as the number of those without identity cards had declined to just 20 now from 80 in 2009.
A resident, Joseph Lakong Angang, 67, also described the mobile court programme as a good way to help the underprivileged group in the remote areas.
“We are too far from the city and we do not have much money to travel just for the sake of applying for an identity card or a birth certificate. With the frequent visit by the mobile court, we are more than happy,” he said.
For Yuhanis Purait, 40, and her brother Panias, 50, their dreams of having an identity card have finally come true.
She said they had made several applications since 1996 but due to several problems, the applications were not completed and hence, causing them to face other difficulties, including in getting government aid and opening a bank account.
“I’m so sick of having to travel all the way to Sipitang and had once been fined RM96 for late application. With the mobile court here, I can easily make new application,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu High Court deputy registrar Amir Shah Amir Hassan, who led the operation, said the mobile court programme had solved 95 per cent of late registration of birth cases in the remote Kampung Long Pasia.
“We actually take the functions of a court outside its normal courtroom to facilitate the people in rural areas such as in Kampung Long Pasia, which is located far away from the convenient amenities and accessibility of courts.
“This is indeed in line with the concept of 1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now,” he said.
Amir Shah said the mobile court was also operating in Paitan, Sandakan; Sook, Pensiangan; Pegalungan, Nabawan and would be expanded to Banggi Island, Kudat, Tenom, Keningau and Sandakan.
The idea of the mobile court was mooted by Chief Judge of High Court in Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum in 2006 to help solve the problem of backlog of cases and authentication of documents in the rural and remote areas.