When His Supreme Eminenceness Lord Justice Bobo recently directed a submission on a point of constitutional importance involving the Federation, Nijam Salleh rose to the occasion for the State of Sabah. Stories from the East reprints his arguments:

May it please your Lordship Lord Bobo,

I have been requested by this Honourable Court of LoyarBurok to submit on the following paramount question:

(1)  Is it better to be a lawyer in East Malaysia?

(2) If yes to (1), should those in Semenanjung be jealous?

Briefly, to save this Honourable Court’s time, I humbly answer to both questions: YES.

I pray leave of your Lordship to elaborate and justify my submission. Of course being a Sabahan, the evidence I provide shall be restricted to the Land Below The Wind. I am sure that my learned friends from Sarawak will be able to furnish you with better particulars on  Bumi Kenyalang, if required.

But first allow me to explain life as a lawyer in Easy Malaysia. Eh, did I say Easy? I meant East, of course. I do beg M’Lord’s pardon.

Lack of traffic jams

I submit M’Lord,

In Sabah, you will not find traffic jams of epic proportions that are quite common for major roads in the major cities over at the Semenanjung (I’m looking at you, KL).  Of course, there are jams over here too but these are rare. In addition, there is the irrefutable fact that there are no tolls to pay every day and you can easily reach anywhere within 20 minutes or after 5 songs have been played on the radio. The downside is that we still cannot tune to  BFM on our radios here. Not yet.

Exhibit A: Less This

Less This

Exhibit B: More This

More this

Despite so, I still do wake up early every morning to go to work. Taking 15 minutes to reach the office means I am able to be in the office sharply by 8 am, and in line for breakfast 10 minutes later.  My usual breakfast spot is a stroll away but because places are extremely limited, the earlier bird gets the worm. In this case, ‘the worm’ is the golden yellow pisang goreng that is sold here for RM1.00 for 8 pieces. It is crispy, crunchy and ever fresh and is the specialty of this breakfast hub. So special, these  pisang goreng have already been savoured by local celebrity and prime minister Mr. Najib Razak when he walked down Gaya Street last year. Currently I hear stories of the owners registering the trademark of ‘PM Pisang Goreng’. Seriously.

M’Lord, being a fellow primate, I believe you can understand the utmost need for one to get their banana-fix. If it pleases M’Lord you can catch these worms by lining up to the  pisang goreng place near the DBKK building next time you’re in KK.

Exhibit C: The Worm

The worm


I submit M’Lord,

In Sabah, there are opportunities for you to do cases which open your eyes. Besides walking to the High Court, you could be anywhere from flying to Sandakan, a road trip to Kudat or boat ride to Pulau Keniogan. From a legal perspective, you would also be able to explore and argue the grayest parts of the law. For example, what happens when you work on a case that covers civil, syariah and native law jurisdictions all at the same time? In such a case which law dominates? Are you sure? Think again. Don’t worry, I don’t know too. A Judge hasn’t decided on this yet.

Exhibit D: Boat Rides

Boat Rides

Exhibit E: Car Rides

Car Rides

Exhibit F: Just Plain Walking


Extra-curricular activities

Pursuing justice on a daily basis can sometimes be overwhelming and dull for an up and coming lawyer like me. Fortunately, M’Lord, if I work in Sabah, I can partake in many activities to resurrect my stereotypical smart, sexy and fun self every now and again. Over here, you simply relax and enjoy life. Or just practice law a little bit differently. I now exhibit these pictures to illustrate my point:

Exhibit G: Researching for Cases

Looking for cases

Exhibit H: Commuting to Work

Transport to work

Exhibit I: Meeting with Clients

Clients' Meeting

Of course, there are normal stuff like eating and exercising. That’s a given.

Exhibit J: Eating


Exhibit K: Exercising



I submit M’Lord,

It is common knowledge that Sabah is well known for its beautiful sunsets. After working hard from 8 to 5, you just want to relax. One looong gaze at the famous KK sunset has always been enough to do the trick. It is prima facie heaven.  There are also various spots for your sunset-fix. Often I hang around Sutera Harbour to get this view:

Exhibit L: That sunset. Too easy.


Exhibit M: That sunrise. Not too easy to see…atas gunung bah ni!!




I can submit more but I feel that enough is enough. 15 minutes of your attention span has probably elapsed. Therefore, allow me to conclude my submission as a lawyer in Sabah by informing the court of my routine at night.

When the night comes, I am usually in my Ben10 pajamas by 7pm watching Indo soap dramas or driving to the nearest 7-Eleven shop to get a Slurpee. Contrary to popular belief, Sabahans do not splurge on seafood every single night. There are days where I just devour Indomie whilst completing my personal task list.  For example, tonight I need to catch that latest episode of Glee.

I am thankful to God for a fulfilling day in Sabah; the place where I work and I call home. I brush my teeth and say my thank you prayers faithfully. And then, before I go to sleep I always make sure to read on my currently most favourite book in the whole wide world:


With that I humbly and respectfully pray for your Lordship’s judgment in our favour and costs to be assessed. In our favour too, of course.

Nijam Salleh is a senior chambering pupil at this point in time and would like to thank Red Bull for giving him wings to wing this submission through the night before it was due. He can be found procrastinating away in Twitter under the pseudonym of @nijamsalleh. Please do not tell his boss that he is doing so because you would then be in his naughty list. But really please don’t.

A novice legal practitioner who tends to be passionate on efficiency and the interests of justice. A football fan who supports the beautiful game, not teams. But Manchester United is ok ba!!

16 replies on “Being An ‘Easy’ Malaysian Lawyer – The Argument for Sabah (Stories From the East)”

  1. I concur… brother from above our state, we in Sarawak do submit as follows:

    a) 20 minutes to anywhere

    b) Crab and Seafood every weekend

    c) wake up at 7.30, breakfast at 8 (kolok mee and teh c peng.. in sarawak, work at 8.30)

    d) the judge is a lot friendlier

    e) even the people at the counter smile all the time.

  2. Well written! Its interesting how you can persuade people to love Sabah even if they're not lawyers like myself. You should write for Tourism Malaysia as well.

    And when Sabah gets all cramp up, you'll know who to blame.

  3. Thank you for the kind comments everyone. Hope I did my part in making you smile today :)

    As far as the argument goes, so far so good. Of course, expecting the counterarguments any time now. Oh noo!!

  4. This is too much! I object. Its bad enough you don't let us Orang Semenanjung come over and work there, you don't have to rub how good it is there in our faces! ;)

  5. Gud 1 Ni Ni!! I can c ur funny expressions runnin in my head s I read ur osom article. Kudos!!

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