DAP denies undervaluing state’s effort to claim oil and gas rights

KUCHING, March 9: A state Opposition leader has denied that they are “pouring cold water” over the Chief Minister’s effort to claim Sarawak’s right over the exploration of its oil and gas resources.

State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said they were just “calling a spade a spade” and that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Jo Tun Openg’s mere pronouncement of “the PDA and TSA are null and void” was “laughable rhetoric.”

He pointed out that wth the existence of the Petroleum Development Act 1976 (PDA), the ownership of all oil and gas have been vested in Petronas. The Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) has further reinforced that position by limiting Sarawak’s territory to a mere three nautical miles from the shores of Sarawak.

In a press statement today, the Pakatan Harapan chairman, who is also a lawyer by profession, explained that any law passed in Malaysia and duly gazetted to come into force is deemed to be good law until it is repealed or the Federal Court declares it to be unconstitutional and null and void.

Other than the Federal Court, no one, not even the prime minister, can declare a law passed in Parliament to be null and void, said Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa state assemblyman.

“Abang Jo’s statement claiming that the PDA and TSA are null and void is a manifestation of his ignorance of the legal system in Malaysia. He can repeat such claims for another 100 times, but if these two laws are not repealed or amended to exclude its application to Sarawak or declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court, Abang Jo’s claim will remain mere “hot air”, an act of “shiok sendiri”,” said Chong.

Chong said that Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who holds a law degree and also a legislator for many years, should know this fundamental principle of the law in Malaysia.

Abdul Karim, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president, had slammed the Opposition for ‘pouring cold water’ on the state’s effort after Chong said Abang Jo’s disappointing announcement was ‘much ado about nothing’.

Meanwhile, Chong emphasized the cold hard facts that Sarawak’s entitlement to oil and gas royalties remains a meager 5 per cent.

He also pointed out the remaining revenues generated from the exploration of oil and gas remains with the federal government and Petronas; the ultimate ownership and control of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak remains with Petronas and the Prime Minister; and all Petronas pump stations will remain Petronas pump stations and will not be converted to Petros pump station. — DayakDaily