Petronas court case will reveal more details of rights surrendered to federal govt — Wan Junaidi

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Feb 3: The legal battle between the state government and national oil corporation Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is going to lead to more revelations concerning the state’s rights which were taken away by the federal government.

Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar believed that the court case is going to open ‘Pandora’s box’ about ‘the legal jungle’ governing the relationship between the federal government and Sarawak.

In a statement today, he asserted that it is not just Sarawak’s right to impose sales tax on petroleum products that the court has to take into account, but the state’s law and the Act of Parliament in particular the Petroleum Development Act 1974 which will be under the court’s scrutiny.

“(With) all the right thinking, Sarawakians duly support the state government’s effort in getting the (oil and gas) rights back, whatever the perceived legal outcome may be.

“I am certain that the state’s legal team has done its homework and know what it is doing.

“After this, we would like to see how serious is the federal government’s effort with regards to returning and restoring all of Sarawak’s rights to where they belong, notwithstanding the past state administration’s misjudgement to assist the federal (administration) during the bad days.

“Now, we want the federal government not to just shout their intention (to restore Sarawak’s rights) with slogans and manifestoes but (at the same time) we don’t want their leaders to be seen as liars.

“Return Sarawak’s rights, especially, the oil and gas right,” Wan Junaidi emphasised.

He observed that there are the federal list and the state list of authority in the Federal Constitution.

He opined that the assumption of rights over the natural resources of the state by the federal government, for instance, he oil and gas, without observing the non-negotiable rights of the state created under the Federal Constitution was unacceptable.

Wan Junaidi who is a former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker explained that the Federal Constitution, Acts of Parliament, the Emergency of 1969 and laws created pursuant to the time of emergency had given perpetual authority to the federal government with the continuing emergency powers created under the Act of Parliament in 1969 and 1979.

He also noted there were several questions arising concerning the extension of emergency powers to the federal government to override constitutional safeguards and procedures, the use of emergency powers to contain the riot in KL in 1969 and the unlimited use of such powers to override constitutional safeguards to take the rights of the state away.

“Is the Emergency Ordinance of 1969 promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has that unlimited power and could the lapsed authority under Article 150 be extended by the Act of Parliament which was passed by a simple majority in order to circumvent the requirements under the Constitution?

“Was the emergency imposed under Article 150 designed to give such enormous and unlimited power to the federal government to override every known safeguard under the (Federal) Constitution?” he questioned.

Wan Junaidi was also perplexed as to why the suspension of the Federal Constitution on May 14, 1969 lasted until February 1971 only.

Furthermore, he questioned whether the Emergency Ordinance of 1969 and later the Emergency Act of Parliament in 1979 could have extended such emergency powers perpetually after the Federal Constitution came into force again on February 1971. — DayakDaily