NGO wants Petros to be transparent in its dealings with oil companies

Soo, accompanied by Sapa secretary Buln Ribos, at the press conference.

KUCHING, Sept 27: Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) must be transparent in its dealings with Petronas and other oil companies looking to prospect for oil in the state.

The state must reveal whether the national oil corporation and other foreign O&G operators have submitted their applications to explore oil in Sarawak and complied with Schedule 5(1) — Application Form for Oil Exploration Licence, Oil Prospecting Licence or Oil Mining Lease.

Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (Sapa) president Lina Soo said once a licence application is submitted, it would serve to confirm Sarawak’s jurisdiction and sovereignty over natural resources found within its shores and territorial waters.

“Sapa is not advocating for Petronas and other oil operators in Sarawak to shut down ‘ala Mugabe’, but merely requesting that these companies apply for licences and leases for exploration, prospecting and mining activities as well as to pay royalties and sales tax to be imposed by the Sarawak government.

“Petros must be transparent and accountable to the people of Sarawak in negotiating deals and comply with Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO),” Soo told a press conference here yesterday.

She believed that Sarawak should not be dictated by Petronas. She questioned why Petros needed to discuss with Petronas on Sarawak’s oil rights when it is for Petronas to seek the former’s approval to comply with the OMO.

It is for Petros to manage and govern the state’s mining activities while giving instructions on technical and financial arrangements to Petronas, as opposed to negotiating with the national oil giant in any way, which can compromise Sarawak’s territorial and sovereign rights, she pointed out.

“Oil and gas belong to Sarawak as the landowner; and by extension, to every Sarawakian as a stakeholder and to the future generations who will inherit our land.

“Petronas must take the lead in complying with the OMO and should do so immediately so that all oil operators will follow suit. Any delays will be an economic loss to Sarawak with each passing day,” opined Soo.

She reminded Petros to be firm in protecting Sarawak’s rights to oil and gas resources and not be seen as a shadowy organisation behind closed doors doing backroom deals and “horse trading”, where Sarawakians’ interest might be compromised for political interest.

“The Sarawak government has the duty to keep its people fully informed, with transparency and accountability.

“The state must be aware that public sentiment is one of rising rage against the audacity of the federal government in breaching MA63 by changing our territorial boundaries and using the Petroleum Development Act and Territorial Sea Act to steal our resources.

“If the Federal Government is genuine about restoring Sarawak’s equal status, then it must honour the pre-Malaysia boundaries and submit to Sarawak law, which existed before the formation of Malaysia,” Soo continued.

Sapa, during a peaceful assembly in Miri on Sept 22, called for the enforcement of petroleum rights in compliance to the Sarawak Oil Mining (Amendment) Ordinance 2018.

The association submitted a letter to Petronas demanding immediate enforcement of the laws stipulated under the OMO on all upstream and downstream operations.

Sapa demanded Petros be entrusted to manage and execute dealings, licensing, leasing and enforcement of the ordinance. In addition, Petronas must refrain and cease from awarding new prospecting areas, concessionary blocks and new production sharing contracts.

Other demands included Petronas building an integrated petroleum complex and setting up a petroleum university in Sarawak for human capital development in the O&G industry. — DayakDaily