Equal status bill: PH was trying to get its hands on Sarawak’s oil and gas rights

Sarawak activist Alex Leong

KUCHING, April 12: The Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government was trying to sabotage the oil and gas rights of Sarawak by attempting to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution on Tuesday (April 9).

Sarawak activist Alex Leong, in a statement, said Putrajaya had pushed for the amendment by playing on the `Restore equal status’ theme, which is based on the Malayan Federal Constitution 1957 and not the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“This action shows that they (federal government) was using the Malayan Constitution Article 160 (2) to ‘eat’ Sarawak, which includes denying the autonomy of oil and gas as well as immigration autonomous rights,” he opined.

He believed the real intention of the amendment of the bill was to remove Sarawak’s oil and gas rights as the Federal Court had turned down Petronas’ bid to challenge Sarawak over its oil rights last year.

Leong reminded Sarawakians that on June 21 last year, Petronas had sought declarations from the Federal Court to commence proceedings to determine that the national oil company is the sole authority of all upstream oil and gas activities in the country, including Sarawak

“But the Sarawak government believed that the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO 1958) is still valid, until today. That means Petronas needs to obey the rules,” he said.

Leong noted that the team of lawyers representing the state government found out that Article 160 (2) was based on the Malayan Constitution, and if the amendment of bill was passed, Sarawak’s autonomy would be gone forever.

“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, in Parliament, repeated that everyone should have the same status and share its revenue together.

“In other words, Sarawak’s resources should be shared with Malaya,” he pointed out.

Dr Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, who is also Kedah Menteri Besar, was also not satisfied with Sarawak’s effort to ask for more oil royalty. He, too, was of the view that Sarawak’s resources should be shared equally, including with Kedah. — DayakDaily