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KUCHING, July 1: Former Padungan assemblyman Dominique Ng has suggested that the state government enforce the Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 (GDO) straight away without giving a grace period.
He opined that the government should just exert its oil and gas (O&G) rights and wait for the affected industrial players to respond.
“We are talking about companies such as Petronas, which has unlimited resources. For them to comply with Sarawak law, it does not take that much time,” he told DayakDaily today.
Ng, who is a lawyer by profession, said a grace period should be given only when O&G companies requested for it.
“A grace period of 18 months is too long. It should be by the end of this year. In fact, by the end of this year is also too long.”
Ng was responding to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office today. The state government announced that the GDO comes into effect today and O&G industrial players must apply for licences if they wanted to continue to mine and operate in Sarawak.
Ng said he had expected Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg to make this move.
“He will always take the conciliatory approach, a softer approach to give time for O&G players, including Petronas, to abide by the regulations.
“He should be more aggressive by literally enforcing it (GDO). No companies should mine without a licence.”
Ng said the state had the upper hand over its disputes with Petronas, and as such, the Abang Johari administration “should strike when the iron is still hot”.
“Petronas has always been arrogant and sees itself as having ownership of Sarawak’s O&G. This is the time we should show it our determination and not adopt a soft approach.”
He reminded the state government that Petronas had adopted a harsh approach when it filed a suit in the Federal Court against Sarawak.
“This is typical of the colonial mentality, when it tried to force PDA (Petroleum Development Act 1974) down our throat. And of course, that was done with the implicit agreement of the new federal government.
“And even after it suffered a setback in the federal court, the statement it issued remained arrogant and defensive, as if it is the owner of our O&G resources.” — DayakDaily