Sabah native groups seeking RM329 million in ‘sogit’ from Petronas for 47 years of ecological damages, degradation

File photo for illustration purposes only. Photo credit: Pixabay

KUCHING, Nov 6: The Sabah native institution is taking national oil and gas company Petronas to the international customary justice tribunal to claim about RM329 million in “sogit” (cooling atonement) for allegedly causing nature and ecological damages and degradation for 47 years through its activities.

The institution comprised Dayak International Justice Council (DIJC) Sabah, DIJC Indonesia, Bobolian Organisation Sabah (BOS), Initiator of Asian School of Wisdom (ASW) Borneo, Dayak International Organisation (DIO) New York, Moningolig Pogun Sabah (MOPOT), Dayak Ritual Authentic Fellowship (DRAF) and Bobolian Association Sabah.

In a joint statement issued by DIJC Sabah president Tindarama Dr (H) Benedict Topin and DIO New York ambassador of culture Andrew Amabrose @ Atama Katama today, the groups claimed that Petronas would need to pay a total of RM7 million each year for seven ecological components that have been affected by its oil and gas activities since its establishment in 1974.

“RM1 million per ecological component affected by global warming, climate crisis, Mother Earth, nature and ecological damages and degradation.

“Petronas by nature of its core business and related activities are part of the contributing factors to hydrospheric and atmospheric pollution,” the statement said.

The groups believe that Petronas should have no problem in the settlement of the claim of RM7 million per year as the oil and gas company recorded a profit after tax of RM10.5 billion for 2020 (-78 per cent compared to RM48.8 billion in 2019) with cash flows from operation (CFFO) activities of RM40.7 billion and Earning Before Interest, tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) at RM55.3 billion.

It also claimed that the natives of Sabah have been mostly ignored and have never been consulted as stakeholders of the ecological components of their ecological being.

“We are entitled under our native (Kadazandusun) adat (customs) to claim for damages to our ecological beingness in the form of ‘sogit’ (cooling atonement) in the form of combined haematic animal sacrifice and monetary compensations for socio-spiritual ecological damages since the establishment of Petronas Malaysia 47 years ago.

“We, upholding our heritage beliefs, worldviews, knowledge and wisdom from our ancestors that within our ecological beingness; have rights as declared by the United Nations Declaration in 2007; have Constitutional Special Privileges and are protected by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong; but ultimately are the traditional owners and keepers of the Island of Borneo.”

The groups also lauded Petronas Malaysia’s commitment on Nov 4 in endorsing the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate related financial disclosures, and for energy to be responsibly delivered in a way that benefits both the people and the planet.

“However, Petronas Malaysia is one of many fossil fuel and gas corporations that contribute directly to the climate crisis by the nature of its core business and related activities are part of the contributing factors to hydrospheric and atmospheric epic pollution, so Petronas must be accountable for its lack of support and recognition for indigenous peoples role in defending lands and biodiversity.” — DayakDaily