Masing to See: Get PM to repeal or amend relevant laws

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, June 6: Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How should secure an assurance from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to repeal or amend the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) and rescind the Tripartite Agreement since See and Dr Mahathir are both in Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, who made this suggestion today, said this was what See proposed on March 8 this year when he suggested what Sarawak BN should do to regain its lost rights over oil and gas.

Since Putrajaya is now under PH, Masing hoped that as a Sarawakian, See could fight for Sarawakians by convincing Dr Mahathir to repeal and rescind those Acts that had allowed Peninsular Malaysia to rip-off Sarawak.

“When we were negotiating with the previous regime, we were also told by YB See Chee How that ‘if the government is serious in any of its amendments, the MP could move a motion or Bill in Parliament to push for the necessary amendments’.

“With the support of the majority of PH parliamentarians and Sarawak parliamentarians supporting the devolution of power for Sarawak, YB See Chee How should be confident that the Bill can be passed for required amendments when his PH colleagues table it.”

Masing recalled that See had previously also highlighted that ‘Section 6 of PDA expressly provides that it is the sole power and prerogative of the prime minister to grant permission for any activities involving downstream petroleum development and operations, including processing or refining of petroleum or manufacturing of petro-chemical products from petroleum’.

“As a result, I urged YB See, being Sarawak PH vice-chairman, to assist to obtain an assurance from his boss, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to repeal or amend both PDA and TSA and to rescind the Tripartite Agreement, like what he suggested on March 8, 2018.”

Masing was responding to See’s statement yesterday where the Batu Lintang assemblyman advised the Sarawak government to take the Petronas law suit seriously. See, who is also a lawyer, had also asked Masing to apologise to Sarawakians for misleading them that the state had full authority to its oil and gas resources.

Masing said the Sarawak government was serious in its efforts to safeguard the state’s sovereign rights. In addition, the state government was also aware of the need to amend the Sarawak Oil and Mining Ordinance and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016.

“In this matter, the opinion of the state attorney-general has been sought, and these Ordinances will be tabled for amendments during the State Legislative Assembly sitting in July. I look forward to YB See and his group of PH assemblymen fully supporting this matter,” said Masing.

Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, said while trying to safeguard the state’s authority and rights over its territorial boundaries, Sarawak had practiced much caution, to the extent of looking at which court Sarawak should choose to submit its case to be heard.

“As YB See pointed out that the federal government could not be assumed as infallible, we must point out that it is exactly because of this concern that Sarawak might choose to submit its case to be heard by a just-and-independent court — it’s either the Malaya-dominated Federal Court or a Tribunal under the International Court of Justice.

“Although the state assembly had unanimously decided that Sarawak should ask for 20 per cent of oil royalty, now with the case being heard in court and its rights contested, Sarawak is now on another platform, where we could be entitled to 100 per cent of our O&G resources should we win the legal battle.

“As a result, because of the change of conditions, it is better that we do not benchmark our demand at 20 per cent.”

Masing said he was actually impressed by See when the latter suggested two years ago that all Sarawakians, irrespective of race or political affiliations, should be united in their efforts to demand for devolution of federal power and the return of the deserved autonomous power to the state, within the ambit of the Federal Constitution.

“However, due to external threats, Sarawakians would very much like to ‘fight the fight’ as Sarawakians, like what YB See described then. — DayakDaily