Abang Jo: State govt will go through courts to assert Sarawak’s rights over oil and gas

Abang Johari speaking at Tatau earlier today (Sept 29, 2019).

By Lian Cheng

TATAU, Sept 29: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says the state government will resort to legal action to regain Sarawak’s rights especially the additional five per cent in oil and gas royalty.

He acknowledged that there were many who doubted if the Sarawak government could get the five per cent oil and gas royalty under Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 from Petronas.

“We have laws to ensure that our rights must be returned to us.

“We also have many lawyers. Our Speaker (Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar) is also a lawyer. If we need to go to court, we will go to court,” he said while officiating at the ceremony to mark the building of Jalan Baru Tatau/Kuala Tatau Road and the upgrading of Jalan Kelebu/Rumah Ado at Tatau today.

With reference especially to Sarawak’s rights over its oil and gas, he said he would bring Petronas to court if necessary since the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government has declared that it is a government upholding the rule of law.

“We have the rights within the law. I hold on to the rule of law. If PH said that they have to follow the rule of law, let us play the game within the rule of law.

“So we will use laws because we have our rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” said Abang Johari.

He reiterated the content of his speech on Malaysia Day where he spelt out the rights of both federal and state governments under the Federal Constitution. There are rights to be exercised by the federal government while there are others that fall under the state’s jurisdiction. There are also areas where both the federal and state have shared jurisdiction.

“Parliament cannot exceed its power, neither can DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly) exceed its power,” said Abang Johari.

Citing the example of ports and harbours, Abang Johari said under the Federal Constitution, it is very clear that they are under the jurisdiction of the state.

“When we govern, we follow the book,” he said.

Abang Johari (front row, third right) in a group photo with other VIP guests and attendees during the launch event for two road projects in Tatau today (Sept 29, 2019).

Abang Johari said when he first became chief minister, Petronas had brought Sarawak to court.

“Perhaps, they just wanted to test me. They brought us to the Federal Court, (but) we fought back. We won, technically speaking,” he said.

Petronas had brought the Sarawak government to court over the ownership of oil and gas in the state last year.

The Federal Court however, denied leave to Petronas to commence a legal challenge against the Sarawak government over the company’s claim to regulate Sarawak’s oil and gas.

Petronas did not pursue the case further. — DayakDaily