Kitingan urges Sabah govt to follow Sarawak’s move on its oil, gas resources

A file photo of Samarang Offshore Complex oil and gas platform, Labuan. — Photo credit: Sangu Nelus

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KUCHING, June 23: Buoyed by the Federal Court’s decision yesterday in dismissing Petronas’ bid for leave based on the Petroleum Development Act 1974, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku is urging the Sabah government to follow Sarawak’s move by exercising regulatory control over Sabah’s oil and gas resources.

In a statement yesterday, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the court’s decision was definitely a good sign for the future of Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the rejection of the national oil giant’s application for leave over exclusive control over oil and gas resources in Sarawak was the first step towards reclaiming the oil and gas ownership by the oil-producing states.

“As president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku and the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), and being at the forefront of the struggles to regain Sabah rights, including its oil and gas ownership, we welcome the decision by the Federal Court,” said Kitingan.

Kitingan, who is also Keningau Member of Parliament and Tambunan assemblymen, added that the decision not only allowed Sarawak to assert regulatory control over its oil and gas resources, which it intends to enforce from July 1, 2018, but it also had similar ramifications for all oil-producing states.

“We, as in Parti Solidariti and BHF, as well as our coalition partners in Gabungan Sabah, SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party), Harapan Rakyat and PPRS (Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah) have been forthright in stating that the oil and gas resources in Sabah belong to Sabah and Sabahans.

“Our firm stand is very unlike that taken by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, and now Warisan (which assert) that Sabah’s oil and gas belongs to Petronas and the federal government and (they) are only wishing to ask for 20 per cent as cash payment instead of asking for the oil and gas ownership to be returned,” he said.

Kitingan said not only was the oil and gas ownership the constitutional and legal right of Sabah and Sarawak as per the State List in the 9th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, but the right to exercise regulatory control rested with the governments of Sabah and Sarawak, too.

“But it was never exercised or dare not to be exercised by the previous BN state governments for fear of reprisal by their political masters in Kuala Lumpur,” said Kitingan.

He believed that the decision of the Federal Court yesterday also meant that the Sabah government now would have to exercise regulatory control over Sabah’s oil and gas resources.

“The state government and the relevant state authorities should now enforce the relevant state laws to ensure Petronas and all oil industry players comply with them.

“Any failure by the Sabah government can only be interpreted to mean that it is weak and subservient to the federal government of the day and are unable to stand up for the rights of the people of Sabah.”

He added it was now up to the Sabah and Sarawak governments to claim for the arrears of the licensing and other regulatory fees due since 1976. — DayakDaily