Establishment of Bintulu Port may be ‘void’ if did not get DUN approval, says Idris

Datuk Idris Buang ... matured and united lawmakers

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KUCHING, Sept 3: Bintulu Port which was established under the Bintulu Ports Act 1981 may not be completely legal or is quasi-legal if it never got the nod of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) said Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang.

“On the face of it or prima facie, strictly, I humbly think it is voidable and could only be regularised at the option of our state government with the endorsement of our state assembly,” he opined in a statement today.

Idris who is Muara Tuang assemblyman made these remarks in support of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut Masing’s recent statement which Idris opined raised a valid point concerning the review on the status of Bintulu Port as reported by a local news outlet yesterday.

“Being a voidable arrangement, it needs to be properly adopted or formalised by our DUN (if it choses to and upon its terms).

“But if it does not wish to take that stand, then, it should have the option to treat it as voidable and therefore seek for restitution,” Idris explained.

Idris concurred with Masing that all ports and harbours in Sarawak including the control of traffic and activities, and surcharging dues and levies etc. relating to them are the sole domain of the state as proscribed under the Federal Constitution’s Tenth Schedule-Part V, Additional Revenues Assigned To Sabah & Sarawak, and Item 15 of State List IIA under the Ninth Schedule ( Article 95B (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution.

“Therefore, Masing is correct. Our right to our ports runs along our right to land. The federal government rights over ports are those ports that covers the land of any state declared and gazetted to be federal land for that purpose,” he opined.

Idris elaborated that such declaration can only be necessitated through the process required by the State Land Code .

“However paramount to that, the inception of a federal-owned port in our state through an Act of Parliament ought to be adopted and passed in our own State Assembly as it involves the use of land. Land in the state is constitutionally to be held in accordance with state law.

“Therefore we need to check or review whether all the legal requirements and processes in respect of the Bintulu Port had/have been complied with or otherwise. Personally, I have no idea whether for that port, the due process had been done or otherwise,” he said. — DayakDaily