The Legal and Practical Issues Related to the System of Two High Courts in Malaysia
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Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963 when among others, the two states in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) were federated with West Malaysia or Peninsula Malaysia (then known as the Federation of Malaya). The Federal Constitution of the Federation of Malaya was then extensively amended to accommodate the creation of the new Federation of Malaysia. However, as a compromise for the states of Sabah and Sarawak to join Malaya and become the Federation of Malaysia, many aspects of the judicial and legal system, as it was before the formation of Malaysia, were maintained. This included, among others, having two High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely the High Court in Malaya for West Malaysia and the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak for East Malaysia, the use of different languages in both these courts, separate legal profession for West Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak respectively, and different laws on the same subject matter between East and West Malaysia. Although this system has been in place now for over five decades, it has given rise to various legal and practical issues which have remained unresolved up till now. This paper seeks to highlight some of these issues.
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