KUCHING, June 7: Lawyer Dominique Ng today described national oil giant Petronas as a “half-past-eight company” for not having the guts to file its suit in Sarawak even though its latest legal action concerned Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.
He told reporters that Petronas had chosen the wrong venue when filing its application with the Federal Court to declare its exclusive rights to Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.
“Because the whole matter is now sub judice, I cannot reveal everything that has been discussed with the chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) earlier. The thing is Petronas filed the application in Putrajaya. Certainly that is not correct. This is something connected to Sarawak and its oil resources.
“How can you file it in Putrajaya? The venue is already wrong. Any `half basket’ lawyer can tell you that. You are fighting for Sarawak’s oil resource rights, (so) fight in Sarawak, not in Putrajaya,” Ng told reporters after attending a lawyers’ meeting with Abang Johari at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building.
Another issue that irked Ng, who is formerly Padungan assemblyman, was that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made a statement to let the law takes its course.
“Isn’t he the Prime Minister of Malaysia right now? He can just tell Petronas to fly a kite. He can just say remove it and everything will be gone. So this challenge to Sarawak must be taken to a different level. That’s what I recommended during the meeting.
“If they (Petronas) want to fight us by taking away our rights, then we fight them with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). We formed Malaysia for meaningful purposes. We came together because we have a common goal.
“Then right now, this half-past-eight company Petronas is trying to say they own our resources. Since when did they become the government of Malaysia? Since when have they own the resources of Sarawak? No way.”
Ng said he fully supported Abang Johari’s stand that the state would not give even an inch of its land.
“This is Sarawak, and if we have to fight them, we will fight them all out and not become defenceless. I think a lot of people will agree with that,” said Ng.
Ng also lashed out at certain quarters for saying that the state government should have negotiated with Petronas for a win-win situation.
“No way. This is not a negotiation. If you talk about negotiation, you are actually going to be seen as weak. Can you fight? I think they are picking a fight with us, then we fight them back.
“You are playing with fire. We are talking about Sarawak rights here, and (also those of) Sabah’s for that matter, as they are also very angry with this.”
Ng said after PH won the 14th general election, he thought everything would be happy and hunky-dory once again and that everybody would be well taken care of.
“But all of a sudden, they (Petronas) throws this challenge (at us),” he said.
Editor’s note: This version corrects an earlier version that said Ng lashed out at certain quarters for claiming that the state government should have accepted PH’s ‘deal’ that was offered previously. Ng clarified that he was referring to a suggestion that the state should negotiate with Petronas for a win-win situation.