50 top legal minds gather to defend Swak’s rights

Sharifah Hasidah (right) flanked by See, speaks to reporters after the meeting between Sarawakians lawyers and Abang Johari.

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KUCHING, June 7: Some 50 lawyers from both sides of the political divide sat down together for about 90 minutes at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building today to discuss ways to deal with Petronas’ court action and matters pertaining to Sarawak’s rights.

On June 4, the national oil giant filed an application before the Federal Court seeking for a declaration on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) being the law applicable for the petroleum industry in Malaysia.

The application was also to state that Petronas is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources as well as the regulator for the upstream industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak.

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali told reporters after the meeting that she was glad all the legal minds present gave positive inputs.

“I’m glad to say all of us are united in this. Even some Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawyers were present (including state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How) to help in this fight,” she said.

She added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was more than willing to listen to them and also agreed for them, through the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak, to work together with the state government and Sarawak Attorney-General (AG) Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid in matters relating to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Sarawak’s rights.

“As far as the Association is concerned, they are with us and fully support us (Sarawak government). No issue of political alignments and political stands. This is for Sarawak, and I think everybody is united in support of the CM (Abang Johari) on this.

“CM welcomes the support from all Sarawakians, who can give their legal views and opinions. We want the best legal brains to help us in this fight for Sarawak,” she said.

Sharifah Hasidah said the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak intended to form a taskforce to look into all matters regarding MA63 and Sarawak’s rights.

“They will assist the state government, and CM has actually consented to that. We will work together.

“No matter how big the challenges, we will fight this through,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who is also a lawyer, said all the views and opinions of the lawyers at the meeting were noted down.

He said Abang Johari and Talat Mahmood would decide later on what course of action to be taken next on matters pertaining to Petronas’ court action and the MA63.

“Even See Chee How’s ideas were picked up and taken note of. It is up to the state AG and CM to decide what to do next. The AG was not present, but the team of lawyers who came will have a separate meeting later and communicate with the AG,” said Abdul Karim. — DayakDaily