‘Opposition blustering as didn’t expect CM to reclaim state’s regulatory rights over O&G’

Abang Johari speaks to reporters after the official opening of the once-way lane bridge at Kampung Kudei in Kuching.

KUCHING, March 18: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg dismissed state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s claims that the chief minister was ignorant of the country’s laws.

Abang Johari told reporters that the opposition’s claims were just hot air because they were caught off-guard and did not expect the him to announce the return of the state’s regulatory rights over its oil and gas resources.

“I followed the constitution, I did my homework and I consulted with the experts, then I announced it. I would not have announced it publicly if I wasn’t sure about it.

“I think they (opposition) are cornered because they did not expect me to do it (announce the state’s regulatory rights over its oil and gas resources).

“Now we regulate our rights to our resources while working together with other companies like Petronas, Shell and Murphy. Before this we did not because we (state government) overlooked article 4c and 8j of the Federal Constitution,” said Abang Johari.

Asked what would happen to the current five per cent oil royalty, Abang Johari said he will use the state’s regulatory rights as a bargaining chip to deal with that later.

“Now we have gotten back our regulatory control (over oil and gas resources). What I will do is — I deliver this first then see what happens later. I don’t want to talk so much on this. I will do this first — deliver what is promised, and see what happens later,” he said.

Last week, Chong, who is also state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, said Abang Johari was ignorant of the country’s legal system when declaring that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) and the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) were null and void due to their inconsistency with the country’s law.

Chong said under the legal system, any law passed in Malaysia and duly gazetted was deemed to be good law until it was repealed or until the Federal Court declared it to be unconstitutional and null and void.

During the Parliamentary session earlier this week, Chong proposed a motion to initiate an amendment to the PDA.

He said he would propose “a small amendment” to Section 2(1) of the PDA to enable Sarawak to reclaim ownership over petroleum discovered in the state. — DayakDaily