Former minister should challenge Malaya leaders to table PETRONAS audited accounts instead, says NGO chairman

Shankar Ram Asnani

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 7: Former minister Zaid Ibrahim should challenge Malaya leaders to table PETRONAS audited accounts for the past years and show how much PETRONAS has earned from Sarawak before daring them to challenge Sarawak’s claim on the six newly discovered oil fields along Sarawak’s shorelines.

Among the disclosures, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple chairman Shankar Ram Asnani believed that PETRONAS should also show how much it had given back to Sarawak annually for the past 60 years.

When contacted, Shankar Ram held that the former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim seems to have missed the fact that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) was never endorsed by Sarawak’s Dewan Undangan Negeri (Sarawak Legislative Assembly), which ought to be strictly done in accordance with the Federal Constitution. 

To him, without endorsement from Sarawak DUN, the PDA74 is technically an unconstitutional piece of legislation and will remain unconstitutional.

Zaid had challenged Malaya leaders to engage Sarawak on the State’s claim on six oil wells found off Sarawak’s coast.

He dared them to do so and called on them not to sleep and let Sarawak “get away with this latest claim, citing the PDA74 and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA2012).

“Apparently, the news reports showed that the former AG of Malaysia Tan Sri Tommy Thomas had spoken about the unconstitutionality of the Petroleum Development Act 1974. 

“People should be made aware that Sarawak’s Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 stands as a Federal Law passed well before Sarawak had joined Malaysia and this protects Sarawak’s entrenched rights to all its oil and gas,” said Shankar Ram, who is also a senior lawyer.

Quoting Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg, he said if Malaysia continued to bicker and fight, then all energy and thoughts will only be focused on defeating the opponent and not progress. 

“I truly believe if such kinds of talks are to continue, Malaysia will be left far behind in terms of economic progress and advancement,” said Shankar Ram.

He reminded that PETRONAS had lost the case Sarawak brought against it which resulted in the Commercial Settlement Agreement between PETRONAS and Sarawak Government, which protects Sarawak’s rights.

“With regards to Sarawak’s boundary, it is our inalienable right, and any law that seeks to abrogate such territorial boundary is unconstitutional and illegal.

“We must give a thumbs up to our Premier for having taken protective steps in the best interests of Sarawak and today for working fairly with PETRONAS , so we co-exist in the best interests of Malaysia,” said Shankar Ram. — DayakDaily.