PDA 1974: Federal Court hearing postponed to June 21

The press statement from the Sarawak Chief Minister's Office.

KUCHING, June 11: The Sarawak Government is deeply disappointed over the sudden postponement of the hearing of Petronas’s application to seek declaration from the Federal Court on the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974.

On June 4, Petronas said it would seek to clarify that under the law, it is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources in the country as well as the regulator for upstream activities nationwide, including in Sarawak. The hearing was originally scheduled for June 12 (tomorrow).

Responding to the sudden postponement, the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office said the Sarawak State Attorney General (SAG) legal team representing the Sarawak Government was notified by a Federal Court official by phone late today that the hearing against the Sarawak Government under Article 128(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution is now postponed to June 21.

“The Federal Court has acceded to the request by the Federal Attorney-General (FAG) for a postponement of the hearing to enable him to consider whether the federal government ought to intervene in this case.

“It is surprising that Petronas who made the application and sought an urgent hearing, has no objection to the postponement of hearing of the case.

“The state government wishes to express its deep disappointment over this, especially when Petronas, FAG chambers and the Federal Court registrar had been informed by the SAG legal team, that the state government objects to the application for adjournment,” the statement said.

Apparently, the postponement was granted without, according the SAG legal team, who are already in the federal capital, the courtesy of being heard on the Sarawak Government’s objection.

Additionally, all affidavits and submissions for the hearing have been delivered to the Court in readiness for the hearing tomorrow.

“The State Government will now have to consider all other options to protect and enforce the State’s constitutional rights in this matter.

“The State Government will not allow Petronas to disrespect and disregard our rights to regulate the upstream activities under our laws such as the Oil Mining Ordinance and the Land Code.” — DayakDaily