Masing welcomes return of state’s control over natural resources

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, March 7: Sarawak’s resumption of full control over its natural resources will allow the state to exercise full control over its oil and gas resources.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said it would also allow Sarawak to extract all its natural resources which rightfully belong to it.

“This will give Sarawak full control over its oil and gas resources. The relevant portion in the Federal Constitution, which we have missed all these years, now allow us to extract the resources which are rightfully ours.

“We must thank our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) for finding this out! It’s a case of better late then never!” said Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister in a statement today.

Apart from praising Abang Johari, Masing also gave credit to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Masing also exerted that if the issue were to be discussed under former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, it would not be heeded or taken into consideration.

“The prime minister (Najib) recognised something wasn’t right and he is courageous enough to right the wrong.

“Under Tun Mahathir, this issue will never see daylight. His manner of administration frightened people from telling him of his faults,” said Masing.

By July this year, Sarawak will assume full control over upstream and downstream aspects of all its natural resources.

This was announced by Abang Johari last night. He also revealed that every company involved in the oil and gas industries in Sarawak by then must have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals required under either the Oil Mining Ordinance or the Gas Distribution Ordinance.

He said this during the official launch ceremony for Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) at a local hotel here, and also said that the operation of these companies would be required to be regularise where all their activities must comply with all state laws including those relating to the use and occupation of land.