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KUCHING, March 27: A state assemblyman has urged the State Governor to call for an urgent State Legislative Assembly (DUN) session immediately to deliberate on Sarawak’s sovereign power and rights on mining with regards to relevant laws.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How made the call pursuant to the announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over its oil and gas upstream and downstream industry by this July.
“The special sitting of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly will provide a platform for the differing legal and political opinions, propositions and solutions to be deliberated, considered and adopted in order that Sarawak may speak and present itself with one unified voice,” the PKR Sarawak vice-chairman told a press conference today.
See reiterated that the chief minister was doing right to take a step further to pursue and assert the state’s autonomous rights over the valuable resources of oil and gas lying within the territorial boundary of Sarawak.
The Chief Minister had said that the state will be able to exploit its natural resources of oil and gas, that any person and company involved in the oil and gas industry in the state must have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals required under either the state’s Oil Mining Ordinance or the Gas Distribution Ordinance.
The Chief Minister had also emphasied that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) and the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) are not relevant in Sarawak. According to him, both the PDA and TSA are federal laws which were not endorsed by the Sarawak DUN and therefore they could not be implemented in Sarawak or supersede state laws.
However, See pointed out that neither Putrajaya nor Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has voiced their support or given assurance to Sarawak for its so-called “full regulatory authority”.
“If the present Sarawak state government is adamant that the PDA 1974 is unconstitutional and of no effect to Sarawak, why are we still allowing the national petroleum company to continue to giving concession out of oil and gas fields offshore of Sarawak since 2012, disposing equity interests and awarding exploration, development and production agreements concerning these resources and particularly those affecting the valuable gas fields over the past 13 months as enumerated above?” See asked.
He emphasised that PKR Sarawak is all for the demand for the return of sovereign rights and authority over all the oil and gas fields onshore and offshore of Sarawak.
However, he was wary that the state would compromise its ownership of the petroleum resources, any or all of legal and equitable entitlements in return for mere regulatory control and authority over the application and approval of licensing for prospecting, exploration, exploitation and development of petroleum resources in Sarawak.
“Because of its momentous political and financial implications on the future of Sarawak and of our future generations, it is only prudent and right for the state government to lay out its proposition before the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly, seeking its full deliberation and endorsement before any decision is made,” he said. — DayakDaily