Awang Tengah: Putrajaya must respect, honour promises made to Sarawak

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 8: The federal government should not encroach or trespass on Sarawak’s autonomy over land, land use and planning, natural resources, immigration and in matters within the executive authority of the state, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Awang Tengah cited examples such as oil mining under the Oil Mining Ordinance and the downstream activities of oil and gas industries under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance to make clear his point that these are the areas that the federal government should not encroach.

“The Territory of Sarawak before the formation of Malaysia extended to the continental shelf. This territory shall not be altered except with the consent of this august House by reason of Article 2(b) of the Federal Constitution.

“The Territorial Sea Act 2012 passed by Parliament has the effect of altering the boundaries of Sarawak and enabling the federal government to exercise control over the continental shelf within the boundary of Sarawak.

“The seabed and subsoil within the continental shelf of Sarawak is ‘state land’ under the control of the state government by reason of Sections 2 and 12 of the Land Code of Sarawak and the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council 1954.

“The Territorial Sea Act should be amended or repealed because certain provisions thereof altered the territory of the State without the approval of this august House in contravention of Article 2(b) of Federal Constitution,” said Awang Tengah when delivering his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.

He said the notion of the federal government staying out of matters under Sarawak’s jurisdiction is what Sarawakians wanted, and they had made known their feelings known in the DUN through their elected representatives.

In thanking all lawmakers for supporting the motion by state de facto Law Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali (GPS-Semariang), Awang Tengah emphasised that there should be meaningful and constructive consultations in those areas that the Constitution calls for such consultations.

“We are only fighting for the rights of Sarawak, which are constitutionally ours. We shall stand solidly behind Yang Amat Berhormat Ketua Menteri Sarawak (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) in safeguarding Sarawak rights and autonomy in accordance with the Federal Constitution and MA63,” he said.

He reiterated that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government would maintain a good relationship with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to advance the interests of Sarawak and the expectations of Sarawakians.

“Our relationship must be based on a federal system of government, whereby the respective rights, responsibilities and powers of the federal government and the state government as spelt out in the Federal Constitution and the constitutional safeguards for Sarawak and the sources of revenues assigned to Sarawak are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“For this relationship to be sustained, it is important that the federal government must respect and honour the promises made to Sarawak to secure our agreement to the formation of Malaysia in Sept 1963,” said Awang Tengah. — DayakDaily