Deadline for complying with OMO 1958 — end of the year

Sharifah Hasidah answering questions after the public dialogue on ‘Malaysia Agreement 1963 of the Federal Constitution, OMO58 and MA63’ organised by GPS Women.

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, June 29: Sarawak will give all relevant parties until the end of the year to comply with the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, said Assistant Minister of Law, Federal-State Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

Currently, the state government will continue to negotiate with the federal government to reclaim its rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Hence, it is crucial for Sarawak to continue to be governed by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) as it will ensure its rights, especially its autonomy, territories and oil and gas, are protected, she said.

“The only way to control OMO 1958 is to make sure we, Sarawakians, (continue to) control the DUN (State Legislative Assembly). Not controlled by other people,” Sharifah Hasidah told reporters after a public dialogue on ‘Malaysia Agreement 1963 of the Federal Constitution, OMO58 and MA63’ organised by GPS Women at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) today.

Sharifah Hasidah speaking at the public dialogue.

When asked who would enforce the collection of the 5 per cent sales tax imposed on oil and gas products, Sharifah Hasidah said all oil and gas companies in Sarawak would have to pay, failing which they would be taken to court.

“We will exhaust all avenues to get it,” she said.

She was commenting on recent news reports quoting Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as saying that a particular oil company had not been paying the tax.

However, during the Question and Answer (Q&A) session, Sharifah Hasidah said the state government would pursue the matter with the federal government as it (5 per cent sales tax) was a new law passed in Sarawak DUN, which could have caused hiccups on the federal side.

“They will have to pay. We will continue to pursue the matter and exhaust all avenues,” she reiterated.

Sarawak is expected to collect some RM3.8 billion from this tax this year.

Meanwhile, Sharifah Hasidah emphasised that both OMO58 and Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 are valid laws.

“PDA 1974 is also a valid law as it was passed in Parliament. As I have said, both OMO and PDA can be read together. At the moment, this is the stand of the state government. Whether we will bring the matter to court or not is a separate matter. Maybe in future, we will but at the moment, this is our approach because we are still in negotiation.

“And the prime minister is really very positive and agrees to listen and want to find a way out for us. He wants to make sure that we are happy also. So, things are not as simple as that. You know, Malaysia has been there for 55 years. It is not going to be simple to say we cannot negotiate now … that’s it. It doesn’t work that way,” she said. — DayakDaily