“Reject Dr M’s offer, protect Sarawak’s 100 per cent ownership of petroleum resources”

Lina Soo

KUCHING, July 22: Sarawak should reject Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s offer of 20 per cent profit from petroleum resources extracted from Sarawak.

State Reform Party Sarawak (STAR) president Lina Soo opined that accepting the offer is tantamount to acknowledging the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) as enforceable on the state’s territory.

Meanwhile, Soo also expressed her disappointment with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for seeking clarification from the federal government on the 20 per cent oil royalty yesterday.

“Why is there a need to seek clarification and bargain with our own resources, as it is not a matter for argument whether it is a percentage of production or of profit,” argued Soo in a statement today.

Soo said Abang Johari should not do a “U-turn” now to take the “20 per cent profit” offer.

“To accept 20 per cent royalty or 20 per cent profit is self-defeating in itself as it gives validity to PDA’s enforceability within Sarawak territory.

“We all know that the PDA is a Federal Act that was never adopted by Sarawak DUN (State Legislative Assembly) and, as such, is unconstitutional and unenforceable in Sarawak,” she said.

Soo said the state government should not use its resources as a bargaining chip with the federal government as it would compromise Sarawak’s rights and territorial sovereignty.

She gave the reminder that the state government had on July 1, 2018, enforced the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO) to take back 100 per cent of its petroleum and regulatory rights.

“To accept any royalty payment in whatever form or percentage would be tantamount to reversing the Sarawak Government’s stand in enforcing OMO, and to accept that is to destroy Sarawak’s 100 per cent ownership status.”

Citing a recent disclosure by the chief executive officer of Petronas, Soo said Sarawak produced 850,000 BOE/D (barrel of oil equivalent per day) from the West Lutong oilfield, and at USD70 a barrel, this would amount to USD56 million per day or USD20.4 billion a year.

“Imagine if this is shared among Sarawak’s population of 2.8 million. Sarawak will be another Norway or Qatar in terms of income per capita.”

Soo proposed that the state government, as the landowner, offer Petronas a certain percentage for every barrel of oil extracted out of Sarawak’s territory, as it is only proper that the landowner makes the offer to the excavator, and not the other way round.

“What lies within Sarawak’s territory and its waters belong rightfully to Sarawak, as has been pre-Malaysia. We want nothing more and nothing less,” said Soo. — DayakDaily