KUCHING, Oct 17: The state government must stand firm and not compromise on the regulatory rights over its oil and gas activities as well as the full restoration of rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women’s chief Datuk Seri Doris Brodie said the party fully supported the stand of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who reiterated that Sarawak would not budge from its demands for full return of rights and status as stipulated under MA63.
“These issues have been the Achilles’ heel in the relations between state and federal governments for too long and it is common sense why Sarawak wants these matters to be resolved fast, in order to reflect Putrajaya’s sincerity in accepting Sarawak as its equal partner and not merely as its source of revenue and giving back only the crumbs to the state,” she said in a statement today.
“Sarawak, as our chief minister has said, is ready to hold discussions with the federal government to find an immediate solution to restore the complete rights of Sarawak as signed by our leaders in 1963, no more no less,” she added.
Doris said that as MA63 was the main basis for Sarawak to agree to be part of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia as an equal partner, PRS Women’s wing felt the matter should be quite straightforward without lengthy negotiations needed.
“It should not be difficult to derive an immediate solution. It is simply ‘just give us back what is rightly ours’, period,” she said.
Doris stated that in 1976, Sarawak was shortchanged when the state’s status was downgraded to the equivalent of one of the states in Peninsular Malaysia.
The status downgrade has made Sarawak incur substantial losses with respect to budget allocation, especially for the state’s infrastructure development.
This has caused the state to lag behind in infrastructure development, putting Sarawak among the bottom half of the poorest states in the country, she opined.
“How could this be when the nation’s O&G (oil and gas) contributed to about 30 per cent of the national GDP, and Sarawak happens to be among the (nation’s) largest producer for gas?” she asked.
She made reference to the inequality between the peninsula and Sarawak, especially in respect to infrastructure development, and that many Sarawakians were not happy with the prolonged unjust treatment.
“As our Honorable CM has firmly put it that the oil and gas are ours and the OMO 1958 (Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958) gave us full control over oil and gas in our state, hence just give back what rightly belongs to the state.
“After all, Petronas should have recouped its investment after over 40 years of monopoly as the custodian of the state’s O&G resources,” she said. — DayakDaily