Tourism Ministry supports Borneo Law Conference

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Liew (3rd from left) presenting a memento to Soh. Looking on are Mary (2nd right) and other members of the SLS delegation.
KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment will support the inaugural Borneo Law Conference mooted by the Sabah Law
Society (SLS) and scheduled to be held here in January next year in
conjunction with the Opening of the Legal Year (OLY) ceremony.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Christina Liew gave the assurance during a courtesy call by a five-member delegation led by SLS President Brenndon Soh on Monday.

“This is an international conference with an important theme – Indigenous Rights : A Comparative Study, where speakers will present papers and share from the wealth of their experience and knowledge in this field. We (Ministry) believe we can kill two birds with one
stone. While delegates deliberate on pertinent issues affecting the
indigenous peoples, the conference is also a platform for us to make Sabah better known to the outside world.”

“We are in full support of this international event which will see an
influx of visitors. I understand many of the delegates are first-time visitors to the State, and may be bringing their families along. This will be a first hand experience of what Sabah has to offer
in term of unique attractions, ecotourism, cultural heritage and
culinary delights. We hope they will come back again,” she said.Some 150 delegates are expected to attend the two-day conference, including international participants mainly from Asia, and speakers
from the United State of America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea. There will also be speakers from Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. The Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum will be delivering a paper on Native Rights in Sabah.

Liew expressed the hope that the Borneo Law Conference will be continued every two years and provide a platform for the legal fraternity of Sabah and Sarawak to educate, promote and chart the future direction for law reform.

Briefing the Minister, Co-Organising Chairman Roger Chin said the conference will take place on January 17 and 18, 2019 at the Pacific Sutera Hotel. January 17 is the day before the OLY ceremony to be held at the new KK Court Complex, here. It is being organised by the SLS in
collaboration with the Judiciary, Majaps (Majis Jaksa-Jaksa Pendamai
Sabah) and Pusaka (Pusat Sumber Adat & Mediasi Kaum Anak Negeri Sabah).

“International law conferences have been held in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, so we decided to do one for Sabah. The Borneo Law Conference aims to provide a platform for a discussion and a comparative study of indigenous peoples’ rights and the law from around the world,” he said.

With a view to forging relationship with international bars, Chin, who is SLS Vice-President, said the organisers encourage members of the legal profession in Singapore, Negara Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam
and Thailand to participate in the conference.

Meanwhile, Soh said the goal of the conference is the advancement and
better understanding of the indigenous peoples’ rights and the development of the law for indigenous peoples amidst this fast-paced ever evolving world.

“The recognition, understanding and promotion of native rights is
imperative towards the preservation of identity, custom, culture, traditions and language amongst the many other socio-economic factors affecting the native community.”
“We hope to raise the level of awareness not only within Malaysia but
also to promote healthy discussion with other international bodies and nations as to how they approach the recognition of indigenous rights,”
he said.Also present were the Ministry’s Principal Assistant Secretary Mary
Malangking, SLS member Datuk Alex Decena, Assistant Secretary Song Wei Wan and Committee Member Chan Wai Ling.

From another perspective, the Minister was glad to note that the Sabah Court was complementing the Government’s effort in conservation work and tourism promotion.

“I was informed that members of the legal fraternity had recently collected some 200 gunny sacks of rubbish from
Mantanani Island,” she said.-pr/BNN