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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 10: The motion by Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang calling for full disclosure of the agreed terms and settlements between the Sarawak government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) was dismissed as ‘a final report’ on the matter has not been reported to the august House.
Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar emphasised that the Sarawak Consultative Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) has not at the material time received any report from the state government on the matter.
“Under Standing Order 20(2)(e): ‘Without prejudice to paragraph (1), every question shall not refer to proceedings in a Committee which have not been reported to the Dewan.
“Erskine May 25th Edition page 1065 paragraph 40.40 – ‘A report of a select committee may not be made publicly available until it is available to members of the House.
“By practice, select committees often supply advance copies of their reports to such government departments, witnesses, lobby journalists and other media representatives as the committee thinks fit. Such copies are supplied under embargo until a specified time and date,” he cited, when dismissing the motion in the DUN sitting here today.
Therefore, Mohamad Asfia ruled that the matter discussed in the select committee shall not be referred to in this motion and be deliberated upon and debated until the report is made available to the members of the House and discussed among the members of the Consultative Committee.
“Only then the matter can be made public and deliberated in the Dewan,” he said.
Citing Standing Order 32(11), Mohamad Asfia added: “If the Speaker is of the opinion that any motion or amendment or the continuance of the debate thereon is calculated to give rise to breaches of this Standing Order, he may disallow the motion or amendment or, as the case may be, may terminate the debate and direct that no further proceedings be taken on the motion or amendment.”
Meanwhile, Chang in tabling her motion, pointed out that it was in the public interest that a full disclosure of the agreed terms and settlement between Sarawak government and Petronas be made known to the august House.
She was referring to the undisclosed agreements and settlement reached between the two parties following a joint statement issued which led to both parties withdrawing their respective appeal and cross appeal.
“The statement (on May 8, 2020) stated both parties shall respectively withdraw the appeal and cross appeal on terms of settlement among which were ‘the Sarawak government and Petronas agreed that the State Sales Tax (SST) on petroleum products will be imposed at a lower rate periodically based on negotiations to be held in the future’.
“All communications and agreements that have been agreed between the Sarawak government and Petronas under Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 are still valid and in force.
“Also, Petronas is still as the national oil company that acquires full authority in regulating the development of the oil and gas in the country.”
She noted that on June 10, 2020, the Consultative Committee unanimously refused to recognise the statement as a former agreement.
“Nevertheless, the state government never revoked nor withdrew the statement.
“On Aug 3, 2020, the appeal and cross appeal were respectively withdrawn on terms which were not disclosed,” she said. — DayakDaily