Sabah lawyer apologises for likening Unduk Ngadau pageant to “exotic cattle show”

Malaysiakini Pix

By John Isaac

SABAH politician Phillip Among’s defence counsel, lawyer Marcel Jude, has apologised for portions of his court submission that likened the annual harvest festival Unduk Ngadau pageant to an “exotic cattle show” that feels like an “auction show”.

“I, Marcel Jude Joseph, hereby sincerely and unreservedly and wholeheartedly apologise for the relevant parts of the court submission which have caused hurt and pain and suffering.

“I, therefore, make this sincere apology to all Unduk Ngadaus (pageant winners) throughout Malaysia from the beginning of the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan beauty pageant until the year 2021,” he said in a statement as reported by Malaysiakini.

Marcel said his apology is extended to this year’s organising committee members and all past members; this year’s Kaamatan celebration committee members and all past members; all other parties involved in organising the Unduk Ngadau pageant since its inception in 1960; as well as all Sabahans of Kadazandusun descent.

Marcel also cited a press statement by Kadazandusun Women’s Council chairperson, Joanna Kitingan, who yesterday said his description of the pageant and its participants as “demeaning, derogatory, defaming and insensitive” towards the Kadazandusun culture.

Marcel said the prosecution in his client Phillip’s sexual assault charge last Thursday had requested bail of RM100,000 and so he was doing his best to obtain a lower amount from magistrate Jessica Ombou Kakayun.

“The offending paragraphs as claimed by Joanna Kitingan were made for the purpose of court proceedings. It was not made with any emotion or malice or intention to provoke or to hurt. It was made to defend my client.

“As a lawyer, I am bound to act to the best of my ability for my client as I think fit,” he said.

‘Submission can’t be withdrawn’

Marcel said that he could not withdraw his written submission because it was res judicata, part of the court proceedings that have been decided on and only the judge can decide whether or not to accept.

He added that while the offending paragraphs were included in the written submission, he did not read it out in court, as claimed by Joanna.

Following Michel’s submission, the Kota Kinabalu Magistrate’s Court fixed July 14, 21 and 22 for pre-trial case management and released the accused on an RM8,000 bail for each of Phillip’s five charges, with two local sureties.

Phillip @ Daniel Dell Fidelis, 52, had claimed trial under Section 354 of the Penal Code to four counts of molesting a local beauty pageant contestant and another charge of molesting another woman.