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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 18: DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Sarawak publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa today advised Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn to get his historical facts pertaining to eroded Sarawak’s rights right before accusing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I am staggered upon reading a defamatory statement made by the assistant minister and Tarat assemblyman Datuk Roland Sagah who had accused Dr Mahathir of eroding Sarawak’s rights during his first tenure,” he told a press conference at DAP headquarters today.
He said Sagah was wrong for blaming Dr Mahathir as the man behind the erosion of Sarawak’s rights via the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA 1974) and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA 2012).
Abdul Aziz was responding to Sagah’s remarks that were published in DayakDaily yesterday under the headline ‘Our rights have been interfered with without our knowledge or approval long ago’.
Sharing historical facts, Abdul Aziz pointed out that Dr Mahathir’s first term as prime minister started only on July 16, 1981.
“When the PDA 1974 was passed by the Parliament and received the Royal Assent on July 30, 1974, before being gazetted as law on Aug 22, 1974, Dr Mahathir was only a Senator. Who was the prime minister back then? It was the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.”
Dr Mahathir returned to the Dewan Rakyat as an MP for Kubang Pasu only on Aug 24, 1974, and was appointed Education Minister two weeks later, replacing Mohamed Yaacob.
“Secondly, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak served as Prime Minister from April 3, 2009, until May 10, 2018. When the TSA 2012 was passed by Parliament and received the Royal Assent on June 18, 2012, before being gazetted as law on June 22, 2012, Dr Mahathir had already retired from politics for nine years.
“Dr Mahathir returned to the Dewan Rakyat as a Langkawi MP on May 9, 2018. The next day, he returned to Putrajaya to serve as Malaysia’s prime minister for the second time, replacing Najib.”
When the TSA was passed in Parliament, Dr Mahathir was leading a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) as its president.
“Now, back to the real question. Who tabled PDA 1974 and TSA 2012 in the Dewan Rakyat? Who signed the Petroleum Agreement 1975?”
Aziz explained that the late Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub became the Chief Minister of Sarawak on July 7, 1970, until March 26, 1981, before he was replaced by his nephew, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who served as chief minister of Sarawak from March 26, 1981, to Feb 28, 2014.
“If we look into the historical facts, when the PDA was passed in 1974, Tun Rahman was the then chief minister of Sarawak while Taib was the then Minister of Primary Industry. When the TSA was passed in 2012, Taib was the then chief minister of Sarawak.”
Abdul Aziz said that on July 24, 1974, Taib, who was the then Minister of Primary Industry, stood up before the august House at 3.57pm to table the Petroleum Development Bill for a second reading.
“The second reading continued on the following day (July 25) when Taib stood up before the august House at 3.35pm and after the third reading, the Petroleum Development Bill was passed at 4pm by all MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN).
“From the Parliament Hansard, we can see that it was Lim Kit Siang from the DAP (who was then the Bandar Melaka MP) who stood up against Taib in the Dewan Rakyat. Meaning to say, it was Lim who was the only MP who stood up to protect Sarawak’s rights.”
Abdul Aziz said that on March 27, 1975, it was Tun Rahman who signed on behalf of the government of Sarawak to grant in perpetuity and convey to and vest in Petronas the ownership in and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia as stipulated in Schedule 2(2) in PDA 1974.
“What does it mean? Why was it Dr Mahathir’s fault when it was, in fact, Taib who tabled the Petroleum Development Bill and Tun Rahman who signed the Petroleum Agreement?”
After Dr Mahathir retired from politics on April 18, 2012, Aziz said the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz stood up before the august House at 3.51pm to table the Territorial Sea Bill for a second reading.
“The bill was seconded by the then Deputy Minister for Public Works and former Stampin MP Dato Yong Khoon Seng from SUPP and passed at 6.40pm on the same day. Why did a SUPP leader second a bill that eventually took away Sarawak’s rights?”
Instead of accusing Dr Mahathir of eroding Sarawak’s rights, which the history showed otherwise, Abdul Aziz said it was time for GPS leaders to admit that it was local leaders who directly and indirectly eroded Sarawak’s rights since 1974. — DayakDaily