Fed govt’s recent announcement on return of oil & gas distribution rights to Sarawak “just an endorsement”

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. file pic.

By Lian Cheng, Karen Bong and Ling Hui

KUCHING, April 16: The recent announcement of the return of oil and gas distribution rights to Sarawak is just an endorsement from the federal government, as Sarawak has resumed the rights effective on July 1, 2018 following the passing of Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 (GDO).

Stressing the point, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there was nothing new with regards to the federal government’s recent announcement.

On April 14, describing it as an “historic” decision, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili announced that the federal government will return to Sarawak the full control and management of oil and gas distribution effective June 1, 2021.

“It has already been recognised that gas rights is with Sarawak.

“There is nothing new there, it is just an endorsement of what has been agreed, but at least there is some agreement whereby the rights of Sabah and Sarawak are given back,” said Abdul Karim when asked to comment on the announcement.

On July 1, 2018, Sarawak unilaterally announced that its GDO came into effect based on its rights vested in the historical agreement of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) passed the Ordinance on Nov 21, 2016.

Among others, the GDO stipulates that all activities associated with the distribution of oil and gas, upstream and downstream, will need to be licensed by the Sarawak government.

During the DUN sitting, Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, who tabled the Bill, explained that these activities also include import of liquefied natural gas, re-gasification, treatment, separation and processing of gas; transport, supply and retail of gas; and the construction, management and maintenance of gas pipelines, terminals, plants and facilities.

He added that GDO covered all types of gas, including natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and specialty gases used in hi-tech industries and hospitals.

Petronas, as a producer and supplier of gas for distribution in Sarawak, is subjected to the new law where they need to hold a licence to continue to operate. — DayakDaily