KUCHING, Sept 27: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg reiterated in London on Tuesday that Sarawak is constitutionally entitled to licensing rights over its oil and gas resources.
Even the authorities in Putrajaya had acknowledged Sarawak’s rightful position, he said in his address to Sarawakians residing and students studying in UK during an evening gathering organised by Sarawak Foundation at the Sarawak Foundation House in Bondesbury Park, London.
“We have the licensing rights, and Petronas’ is the development part,” he pointed out, with reference to specific provisions in the Federal Constitution.
As a consequence, he said the state government, through the state’s oil and gas company Petros, had been collaborating with Petronas to ensure that Sarawak would stand to benefit from the oil and gas resources in the state.
“Although the licensing rights have never been enforced in the last 40 years due to some possible oversight, the state would not compromise on what is lawfully Sarawak’s,” he emphasised.
Abang Johari and members of his delegation were in the British capital as part of a fortnight-long study trip to UK, USA and Canada before the final stop in Dubai to meet potential investors.
On the relationship between the state and the new federal government, he considered it as close because both sides were working for the interest of the people.
He expressed his happiness that he was able to meet some Sarawak students in UK, whom he described as the faces of future Sarawak in the quest towards digitalisation of the state’s economy.
The students, who later had an informal interaction with the chief minister, displayed deep interest in the approach taken by the state to transform its economy from a conventional to a digital one.
Abang Johari told the audience that on this first leg of the tour here, he visited University of London and University of Oxford to study possibilities of collaborations that would pave the way for Sarawak students to be given places in these universities in studies such as humanities.
In the second leg of the tour in the US, he said he would be visiting Stanford University to view research activities and facilities at the university to assess the prospects of similar collaborations with the university and other universities within the Silicon Valley.
“Sarawak would continue to send students overseas to pursue studies in new disciplines, in particular those that are not available locally such as cybersecurity, programming and data science.
Sarawakians need to acquire new knowledge in order to be acquainted with the new ecosystem and trend of development around the world, which are based on new technologies, he added. — DayakDaily