KUCHING, May 9: Aspirasi president Lina Soo decries the conditions attached to the agreement reached between the Sarawak government and Petronas on the 5 per cent sales tax as the biggest political sell-out since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
Soo believes Sarawakians are outraged and extremely shocked that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has compromised Sarawak’s petroleum rights in the conjured deal with Petronas over the settlement of the 5 per cent petroleum sales tax.
“Petronas must pay up the debt in full, immediately and unconditionally as it has no difficulty in paying the Federal government 38 per cent petroleum tax (PITA) and why not Sarawak’s 5 per cent State Sales Tax (SST),” said Soo in a statement issued here today.
She pointed out that the High Court ruling was on the SST only and believed that it did not touch upon the constitutionality of the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, the status of Petronas as the national oil company fully in charge, or the ownership and economic rights to Sarawak’s oil and gas.
“The status of Petroleum Development Act 1974 must be decided by the court and cannot be decided by an obscure backroom deal between GPS and Petronas,” Soo said.
She asserted that incorporating the agreement for Sarawak to validate the PDA 1974 as part of the deal for Petronas to pay up the debt was too ridiculous and Soo was repulsed that the Sarawak government could accept it.
“The GPS government is not empowered to accede to this questionable deal with Petronas that all letters and agreements between the Sarawak government and Petronas under the PDA 1974 are legal and that Petronas is recognized as the national oil company that has full power over Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.
“For such an important decision that affects the inheritance of our natural resources for our future generations, this matter must be brought before Sarawak DUN,” Soo insisted.
Soo accused Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg for changing his defence of Sarawak’s interests.
“CM Abang Jo had declared that the PDA 1974 was ultra vires the constitution under Article 4 of the Federal Constitution. CM Abang Jo had also stressed that before Malaysia Day, Sarawak already owned its petroleum resources and this right cannot be compromised without the approval of Sarawak to be expressed by a law passed by our DUN,” she said.
Soo also cited a news report dated September 24, 2018 where Alex Ling, a Sarawakian who holds a Masters’ law degree in constitutional and international law from Cambridge University, had contended that the PDA 1974 is null and void, illegal and unenforceable against Sarawak as the surrender of its petroleum rights had never been approved by Sarawak DUN.
“Malaya has no treaty rights to take our petroleum resources under international law, and as Sarawak petroleum was not a subject of negotiation in MA63, PDA 1974 is a breach of this right,” she said.
She reiterated that there was absolutely no justification at all for Petronas to attach any conditions to settle this debt, and Sarawak has no reason at all to entertain any additional demand by Petronas to comply with the court order.
“The constitutional issue over ownership and economic rights of Sarawak petroleum can only be settled in court as a last resort when all else fails, and the Sarawak government must not betray the trust of the people in protecting our heritage,” added Soo.—DayakDaily