OCTOBER 5 — The Sabah Bar has lost one of its brightest shining lights in the sudden passing away of Datuk Liew Vui Keong on October 2, 2020, the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law).
Liew had only recently collaborated with the Sabah Law Society (SLS) to speak in a webinar on Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution, Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution and had planned to much more in the future before the untimely loss.
He was a person who understood the needs of legal practitioners in Sabah, having been one himself, and perhaps because of this was always supportive of the Sabah Bar and during his time as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law), would ensure that the Sabah Bar was always invited to attend meetings and discussions held at the national level which affected Sabah and/or the local legal practitioners where in the past, the Sabah Bar had largely been left out.
From his time as a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2008 to 2013, to his appointment as the de facto Law Minister in May 2018, Liew was actively engaged in a variety of legal and social issues and pushed for laws on the abolition of the death penalty and other law reform Bills that included pursuing amendments to the Constitution to put Sabah and Sarawak back as equal partners under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Liew was always approachable and ever ready to engage with relevant stakeholders in dialogues to ensure all pertinent issues were aired and considered to ensure a comprehensive and effective execution.
Certainly, Liew always consulted with SLS on matters of common interest which was always deeply appreciated by the Sabah Bar as this reinforced the notion of consultation with the Borneo States in all matters affecting Malaysia in general and Sabah and Sarawak in particular.
The Sabah Bar will eternally be grateful for the role Liew played in the relocation of the Registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak to Kota Kinabalu on a 10-year rotation system between Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Such move was in recognition of the relationship between Sabah and Sarawak vis-à-vis the High Court as neither Bornean state has a greater or lesser claim or right to host the Registry of the High Court.
His contributions to the legal fraternity in Sabah and to the public in Malaysia have been immense and profound and the Sabah Bar extends its profound condolences and sympathies to his family and loved ones on a life cruelly cut short. The Sabah Bar is illuminated less with the loss of Liew from its ranks.
* Press statement released by Roger Chin, president of Sabah Law Society
** This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or organisation(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.