Deputy minister: S’wak’s rights according to relevant laws unambiguous, no room for interpretation

Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali (file photo)

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, June 10: Sarawak’s rights to the continental shelf, the extent of the boundaries of the State, water, and stamp duty are based on clear constitutional provisions and relevant State and Federal laws, which are unambiguous and admit no room for interpretation.

In stating this, Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63, and Federal-State Relation) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said by virtue of the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council dated June 24, 1954, the boundaries of Sarawak had been extended to cover the seabed and subsoil of that area forming the continental shelf beneath the high seas.


Meanwhile, Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that the territory of Sarawak shall be the territory as at Malaysia Day (Sept 16, 1963) where it includes the seabed and subsoil of the area forming the continental shelf off the coast of Sarawak.

She also mentioned that under the Land Code of Sarawak, a pre-Malaysia law, whose validity and effect continues after Malaysia Day by virtue of Section 73 of the Malaysia Act 1963, the seabed and subsoil within the boundaries extended by the said Order in Council is State land.

On top of that, under item 2 of List II (State List) in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, Land is a subject matter under the legislative and executive authority of the State.

Additionally, under item 2(c) of list II, the legislative and executive authority covers ‘permit and licences for prospecting for mines; mining leases and certificates.’

She added that item 8(j) of List I (Federal List) provides subject to item 2(c) in the State List: Development of mineral resources; mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores; oils and oilfields;…

“These unambiguous constitutional provisions show that the development of oil and oilfields in Sarawak is subject to mining leases or certificates issued by the State under item 2(c) of the State List.

“The State Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 provides for the issuing of oil prospecting licences, mining leases or certificates for exploration and mining of petroleum.

“Thus, the State government has a constitutional duty to ensure that all constitutional rights and powers belonging to the State are not eroded and fully respected.

“Such constitutional rights and powers should not be affected through purported interpretation of clear and unambiguous constitutional or statutory provisions,” she said in a statement today.

She was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Fadillah Yusof’s recent revelation that both Federal and State governments had different views and interpretations on issues such as the continental shelf, the State’s borders and stamp duty.

Nevertheless, Sharifah Hasidah said the Sarawak government will continue to engage with the Federal government on the exercise of such constitutional rights and powers for the benefit of the nation and to promote the economic well-being and the progress of the Federation. — DayakDaily