Set up court for tourists: Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak

KOTA KINABALU - A tourist court should be set up to help visitors who may have been short-changed by unscrupulous operators in Sabah and Sarawak to seek redress.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, who made the proposal, said the tourists should be able to file civil claims and have these resolved speedily during their brief holiday.

Tourism, he said, was a significant source of revenue for both Sabah and Sarawak.

"There were four tourist victims in Sabah and two in Sarawak last year. Surprisingly, no civil claims were filed by any tourist," he said when opening the Sabah and Sarawak Legal Year 2015 at the High Court here yesterday.

"Maybe they think their time was too short to file any claim and opt to let it go. But we must tell them that they should and can make their claims (if the special court has been set up)," he said, adding that a case involving a tourist should not take more than a day to finish.

Last year, Malanjum added, there were also 34 tourists who were charged for various offences in the magistrate's court in Sarawak and four in Sabah.

The judiciary, he said, was also in the process of setting up a specialised environmental court for civil cases in light of recent natural disasters in various states.

"We hope this will help to expedite the disposal of cases related to the environment - both at the High Court and subordinate courts.

"We need to create public awareness on the importance of protecting the environment, including wildlife and marine animals," he said, adding that judicial officers had been working with relevant agencies on the matter.

"The Chief Judge of Malaya and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak's office will carry out a study to assess the need for such courts in the respective High Courts," he said.