DAP leader to GPS: Who signed the Petroleum Agreement in 1974?

Abdul Aziz Isa

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 29: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Socialist Youth Sarawak publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa advised Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders to look into the mirror before pointing fingers at Pakatan Harapan (PH) for losing the ownership of oil and gas in Sarawak.

He, thus, urged GPS leaders to go back to history and come back with an answer as to who actually caused the state to lose its rights to oil and gas resources.

“Who signed the Petroleum Agreement in 1974? I want the GPS leaders to answer the question because the person who signed it is still alive, but I don’t think they will dare to answer this question,” he told a press conference at the DAP headquarters here today.

He reiterated that it was the then Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders who signed the Petroleum Agreement 1974 and passed the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 that surrendered the state’s rights of full ownership of its oil and gas over to the federal government.

“This is a clear cut case and shows the level of ignorance among GPS leaders, who don’t even know the real history behind this,” he said.

Aziz said that under Section 2 (1) of the PDA74, the provision has clearly stated that Petronas has the entire ownership and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum in Malaysia.

However, he pointed out, DAP Sarawak had during the BN era proposed for a small amendment to Section 2 (1) of the PDA74 so to enable Sarawak to reclaim the ownership of petroleum discovered in the state.

“It is a small amendment, just by inserting two words ‘excluding Sarawak’ in the clause after the word ‘Malaysia’, but with great consequence.

“By making this amendment, which if proposed and passed in Parliament, all ownership and rights on petroleum will be vested with the Sarawak government,” he added.

However, Aziz emphasised that it was Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who viewed the proposal, which was presented before the 14th General Election, as ‘hot air’.

“Our intention was very clear and good that we just need to insert two words ‘excluding Sarawak’, then we will be able to reclaim our rights to oil and gas on these shores,” he said.

Now that the state government has shifted its focus onto Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, he, however, believed that the Act of Parliament shall prevail between the Act of Parliament and the Ordinance of the State Legislative Assembly.

“This is a legal agreement between two parties, where there is an offer and an acceptance. The state government at that time accepted the offer laid out by the then federal government, so why now blame PH or (Sarawak) DAP when these two parties were not even formed yet?” he asked. — DayakDaily