Sabah lawyer apologises for derogatory remarks on Unduk Ngadau

Sabah lawyer apologises for derogatory remarks on Unduk Ngadau

Philip Among (left) with lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph. — Picture by Julia Chan
Philip Among (left) with lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph. — Picture by Julia Chan

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KOTA KINABALU, June 14 — The lawyer for Philip Among who was charged for sexually assaulting a beauty pageant contestant today apologised for his degrading remarks of the Unduk Ngadau pageant. 

Lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph in his court submission compared the annual harvest festival Unduk Ngadau pageant to an “exotic cattle show” that feels like an “auction show”. 

Joseph angered the local community when a copy of his three-page bail submission, containing arguments about the Unduk Ngadau being a poor representation of women, was shared on social media. 

In a statement yesterday, Joseph said he was merely doing his best as a counsel to obtain a lower bail for his client and that his remarks were not aimed at anyone. 

“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,” he said. 

In his apology statement, he named “all Unduk Ngadaus throughout Malaysia”, every member of the Unduk Ngadau organising community since its inception, the state Kaamatan organising committee, “every worker, volunteer, helper, contractor and all others who have been involved in any way in the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageants” as well as the Kadazandusun community.

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

Sabah State Unduk Ngadau Borderless Kaamatan 2021 chairperson, Joanna Datuk Kitingan, had yesterday demanded Joseph to retract the written submission and apologise to the public. 

“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.

Joseph also said that he did not utter or mention the paragraph she had objected to in court.

Joseph is representing Among, a former parliamentary coordinator for Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku against five charges of molestation. Among was accused of molesting a staff member at a capsule inn in April and a beauty pageant contestant in four separate places on the same day on May 19.

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