Abdul Karim to head state negotiation team in petroleum talks with federal govt

E11 Platform Complex, Baronia oilfield in Miri. — file pic

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, June 10: Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has been appointed by the State Consultative Committee (SCC) as its chief negotiator with the federal government on petroleum products matters, revealed SCC chairman Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar today.

Besides Abdul Karim, four other members who were appointed to the negotiation team by the committee are State Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB)’s See Chee How.

“Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah will head our negotiation team with Datuk Gerawat Gala, Datuk Idris Buang, Datuk Sebastian Ting and See Chee How. So, this will give a balance where everybody is represented. After all, one of the terms of reference of the committee is that it must be represented by political parties and these (men) are all lawyers.

“So now, we are well equipped by our good representatives for the ongoing negotiation (with the federal government and Petronas),” Mohd Asfia told a press conference after chairing the SCC meeting at the State Legislative Assembly Complex (DUN) here today.

On the other hand, Mohd Asfia who is also the DUN speaker, said it was up to the federal government to decide on its own team.

“For the negotiation, we have agreed unanimously that there will be a two-track negotiation. The first track, can be done by those who walk in the corridors of federal power.

“The second track which we must emphasise, is from this consultative committee. With these two tracks, the scenario is clearer and we can advise better, the Dewan Undangan Negeri,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Karim said he would consult Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the next plan of action.

“We have to refer to the CM. We also have to see what’s going on in KL, when they are ready to sit down on state matters. They are still busy down there,” he added. — DayakDaily