‘PDA 1974, TSA 2012 rendered void if not endorsed by Sarawak govt’

Abang Johari (centre) and Masing (left) speak to reporters on the state's oil and gas mining rights.

KUCHING, March 8: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg clarifies that any law or acts by endorsed by Putrajaya without consensus from the state government would be considered null and void.

Recent statements by critics, among them state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, pointed out the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 states that the ultimate ownership and control of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak remains with Petronas and the federal government. They said this makes the CM’s earlier statement about Sarawak assuming full control over its oil and gas resources toothless.

In response, Abang Johari emphasised to reporters today at a seminar on coastal roads, that he was exercising the state’s rights under the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Meaning they (federal government) cannot implement it here (Sarawak). Quote me verbatim — any law that is ultra vires under Article 4 of the Federal Constitution is (considered) void,” he said.

Article 4 (1) of the Federal Constitution provides that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

This means that if it is inconsistent with the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958, it is considered void, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar James Jemut Masing explained.

“What is important is that for the Federal acts to be implemented here (Sarawak), our State Legislative Assembly has to endorse it. But it wasn’t endorsed. Therefore they can form all kinds of acts, but if we (state) don’t endorse it, it would be void,” said Masing.

Meanwhile, Chief Political Secretary to the Chief Minister Abdullah Saidol said this was somewhat similar to the state’s Immigration Act where the state has power to exercise its own immigration laws.

“Similarly any parties wishing to participate in our oil and gas here must first comply with our existing law which is the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958, notwithstanding the PDA 1974 and the Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012.

“Again, if they (Putrajaya) are on our shores, they must comply with our existing laws,” he stressed. — DayakDaily