Padungan rep seeks explanation on validity of PDA 1974, TSA 2012

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, May 16: Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen wants the Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg to state the rationale for the State to concede on the constitutionality, validity and legality of the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 and the Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012 in the upcoming Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting.

He said former Chief Minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, has previously in a DUN sitting, questioned the legality and validity of the two Acts which led to the State government nullifying the two laws.

“If the two laws were nullified, Sarawak will assume all rights over the oil and gas extracted in Sarawak and her offshore oil and gas fields.

“However, in December 2020, to the surprise and disappointment of all, the State government reached a settlement with Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad), thus conceding to the validity of the two laws. Such act is a departure from the wishes and words of the late Adenan Satem and tantamount to a betrayal and a sell-out of Sarawak’s rights over her oil and gas.

“Therefore, the State government should be accountable to DUN Sarawak for its reason and basis to reach the settlement with Petronas and why it conceded to the validity of the two laws,” he said in a statement today.

The question was one of 10 questions Chong has submitted to seek for replies in the upcoming DUN sitting. In fact, it is the only question which seeks an oral reply while the other nine are for written replies.

Chong further said according to the DUN Standing Order, answers to questions seeking written reply will be given to the assemblyman asking the questions after the DUN sitting while questions seeking oral reply will be arranged by the Speaker to be answered by the relevant Ministers during the DUN sitting.

“Given that only the first hour of each sitting day, excluding those days set aside for ministerial reply to debates, is set for oral replies, for each day, only approximately the first 15 questions will be replied by the ministers concerned, while the remaining questions for the day will lapsed and no reply will be given.

“In light of the importance of the question and the huge public interest involved, I urge the DUN Speaker (Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar) to have the question listed in the first 10 questions of any of the sitting days,” he added.

As for his submitted questions seeking written replies, Chong also wants to ask the Premier of Sarawak to state the present book value of the net assets and net asset per unit of the Amanah Saham Sarawak Trust Fund, the reason for the depletion of the assets of the Fund and total government grants to the Fund since the date of its inception.

He also wished for answers with regards to the implementation of the Automated Rail Transit (ART) in Kuching including the project status, cost of implementation, estimated Return on Investment of the project, the total acreage of land to be acquired for the project, a map showing the proposed acquisition of the affected land and the estimated costs of such acquisition.

He is also seeking information on the racial composition of the State Civil service at all respective grades of the service; an account of the balance sheet of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) and the total deposits collected and loans disbursed since its incorporation in 2017 and the particulars and purposes of such disbursed loans; as well as the total State Sales Tax collected by the State government for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (up until April 30) and the breakdown of such taxes in terms of items namely, petroleum products, oil palm, lotteries, tyres and others.

Other questions include those pertaining to the progress of repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak and the respective amount of funds used for each of the schools; the economic recovery plan for Sarawak and the respective GDP of Sarawak for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and estimated figure for 2022; as well as the return on investment on the State government’s multi-billion ringgit acquisition of Bakun Hydroelectric Dam since 2017, the initial outlay, the interest costs incurred, management, maintenance and operation costs over the years and the revenue generated thus far. — DayakDaily