KOTA KINABALU: MORE people in rural areas will have access to legal services as a new bus will be added to the mobile courtroom fleet in Sabah.
The third bus for the Sabah Courts will be delivered during the opening of the legal year for Sabah and Sarawak in Sandakan tomorrow.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum told the New Straits Times the custom-built bus would be mobilised in the rural east coast districts.
“With the two existing buses and a mobile courtroom we have in the west coast, we will be able to provide weekly legal service there, and once a month in the east coast.”
Mobile court services were introduced in 2007 where legal officers were sent to rural areas to set up makeshift offices for people to certify documents and to hear minor cases.
Five years ago, two buses were commissioned as mobile courtrooms and had since heard more than 1,500 cases.
People would normally be confused between the mobile courtroom and its service but, essentially, both were meant to help rural people, Malanjum said.
“There are districts that have no courthouses like in Telupid, where court cases rarely occur.
“If we want to have a courthouse in an area where there are not many cases, it will be a waste of resources.
“This is where the mobile courtroom comes in, because without it, the people will have to travel to places like Ranau or Beluran to attend a court case or seek legal services.
“With the mobile courtroom, we will come to them,” he said, adding that the RM700,000 mobile courtroom was useful in rural districts.
“What you see in the air-conditioned mobile courtroom is the same with what you will see in the court gallery.”
The mobile courtrooms have been mobilised to Kota Marudu, Kudat, Pagalungan, Pensiangan and Tambunan.
In Mukah, Tellian assemblyman Yussibnosh Balo said villagers did not have to endure long hours of travel to visit the court with the mobile courtroom service.
“It has eased the burden of villagers from the longhouses in Nanga Baoh Dalat, Ulu Baoh Dalat and Ulu Mukah, especially when it comes to registering births or applying for identity cards.”
Balo said it would be better if the mobile legal service could visit more regularly to serve the people in rural areas.