Sarawak can be the next Qatar, says Sadong Jaya rep

From left: Juanda, Aidel and Simoi at the press conference held at the State Legislative Assembly complex today.

KUCHING, July 10: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) BackBenchers Club chairman Aidel Lariwoo (GPS-Sadong Jaya) says if Sarawak could fully control its oil and gas resources and be independent, it would be the richest country in the world.

Citing Qatar as an example, he pointed out that Qatar used to be one of the poorest countries in the world, but the discovery of natural gas (not inclusive of oil) transformed that Arab country into the world’s richest.

Aidel said Sarawak’s gas reserve in Bintulu is ranked the second highest in the world. It used to be No.1, but Qatar has taken over that position.

“If we can control the gas in Sarawak over (through) this OMO amendment, we can be the richest country in the world, if we can be independent.

“We can be the richest country in the world for the next 10 to 15 years,” he told a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly complex today.

Aidel opined that it was high time for the state to take the full control of its rights over oil and gas resources.

Meanwhile, Dr Juanda Jaya (GPS-Jemoreng) clarified that Sarawak did not want to quarrel with anyone. It just wanted to take back its rights.

He said Sarawak had been lucky because the colonial government left behind various ordinances and acts to protect Sarawak’s resources. Acts such as the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) had not been repealed and was, therefore, still valid.

“Since the federal government has changed to a new government, one that is more open and fair and gives more freedom of speech, that is why we are more daring to speak of Sarawak’s rights that must be returned.

“I call on the federal side not to double guess us. Sarawak has never wanted to quarrel with the federal. We are also not denying Petronas’ rights and so on,” he said.

Juanda argued that the royalties given to Sarawak was not enough. In addition, not much had been allocated for the development of the rural areas.

“The initiative of the government was only getting back more so that we can build up our state. That is why I suggested that the income derived from the enforcement of OMO to be put into a trust fund, especially for the development of the rural areas,” said Dr Juanda.

Also present at the press conference was Simoi Peri (GPS-Lingga). — DayakDaily