CM expects Petronas to respect Sarawak’s rights

Abang Johari delivering his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting. Screen grab taken from the DUN CCTV feed.

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KUCHING, July 18: Sarawak expects Petronas to be friendly and cooperative towards the state’s enforcement of the Oil Mining Ordinance and Gas Distribution Ordinance effective July 1, 2018.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg reminded the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government of its GE14 manifesto that promised to increase oil royalty to the state from the current five per cent to 20 per cent.

This indicated that the federal government favoured Sarawakians in its dealings with regards to petroleum, he argued.

“For the record, this august House has never endorsed the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974. Our goal is to restore Sarawak rights that are enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the international treaty between Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia, which puts Sarawak as an equal partner with Malaya and Sabah.

“Among those rights are the rights of Sarawak to our own legislation, including those that were enacted before the formation of the Federation,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

Petronas recently applied to the Federal Court to seek a declaration that the Sarawak Mining Ordinance 1958 was already repealed implicity by the PDA, but their application was rejected by the Federal Court on June 22.

The Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 will give Sarawak full regulatory authority over all persons and companies involved in the operations of the oil and gas industry in the state.

Sarawak has proceeded to enforce the Oil Mining Ordinance and Gas Distribution Ordinance effective July 1 through Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros). The provisions for enforcement are enhanced by the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was passed in the DUN on July 10.

“With the Gas Distribution Ordinance, the state will work closely with the Federal Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism as well as Petronas regarding the distribution of natural gas to consumers in Sarawak.

“We hope Petronas can understand the position that the Sarawak government is taking. We wish to assure oil and gas industry players in Sarawak that the state government is reasonable and business friendly,” Abang Johari continued.

The PDA issue has been simmering in the hearts of Sarawakians since 1974, when the act was first promulgated in Parliament, he said. — DayakDaily