Logical for Petronas to want legal clarification over PDA 1974, says Yii

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, June 7: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii reiterated that he is not defending the actions of Petronas in seeking for a declaration on the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974.

However, Yii said Petronas has every legal right to file an action in court to seek clarity on its rights under the PDA 1974, especially with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s assertion that from July 1, 2018, oil and gas (O&G) industry players must abide by state laws such as the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance (GDO) 2016.

“Technically it is a natural process for the oil and gas company to seek and clarify that under the law, before abiding to any new or even old regulations that is set before them.

“This is in order to fully determine whether it is the exclusive owner of the petroleum resources as well as the regulator for the upstream industry throughout the country.

“Due to the PDA 1974 that was passed in Parliament with the full consent of the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders, such full ownership has always belonged to Petronas since 1974 in pursuant to Section 2(1) of the Act,” Yii explained in a statement today.

Under Section 2(1), this provision states that, “The entire ownership in, and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum whether it is onshore or offshore of Malaysia shall be vested in a Corporation to be incorporated under the Companies Act 1965 or under the law relating to incorporation of companies”.

“So, Petronas is not demanding for anything new, nor trying to ‘steal more’ or even taking away whatever royalty that is been given now. They are just seeking legal clarification over the matter. Such application would have likely happened even if the federal government was still under BN due to Abang Jo’s claims to assert their licensing rights,” Yii said.

He added that any denial of the legal implications of the claims by Sarawak state government is just an attempt to bury their heads in the sand or to continue to deceive the people of Sarawak.

Even if Petronas did not initiate such claims, Yii said it doesn’t change the fact of the existence of the PDA 1974 as it has yet to be declared by a court of law to be null and void or amended or repealed in Parliament.

“No public declaration by anyone no matter the position can reverse a law that was consented and passed. So, it is important for us to understand, that in order for us to fight this right, we also need to understand it right,” he emphasised.

Advising state leaders not to adopt the ‘victim mentality’ in dealing with the clarification application by Petronas on the PDA1974, Yii said when the state is confident of their rights, they should be confident that they now have a platform to prove their claims with proper legal authority, and not act as if they are being bullied or attacked.

Yii also added that the recent file application before the Federal Court by Petronas in seeking for a declaration on the PDA 1974 should not be misused by certain quarters to rile up misleading and divisive statements in order to instate hatred among one another.

“There are even misleading statements from state BN leaders claiming that this application is an attempt by Petronas or the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to ‘steal more if not all’ of our oil and gas resources, depriving the state further in order to pay for loss of revenues due to the abolishment of GST or for other reasons.” — DayakDaily