Sarawak to employ Constitution to gain rights over oil, gas and mineral resources

Abang Johari (seated centre) speaks to reporters flanked by Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (left) and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (right), and others at the PBB convention.

KUCHING, Feb 11: The state government now has the means to flex its muscles in asserting the state’s rights over not only mining rights and production but also over its oil and gas fields and production as well.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak will use the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution under item 8(j), where the permits and licences for prospecting mines and mining leases would come under the state.

“Under 8(j) subject to item 2c in the state list which includes development of mineral resources like mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores, oil and oil fields, purchase, sales, import and export of minerals and mineral ores, petroleum products, regulation or labour and safety in mines and oil fields.

“These are under the state government’s purview, meaning all licences are issued by the state government and anything under the state’s oil and oil fields is under the state government,” he told a press conference after the closing of the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) triennial convention at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here this evening.

He said with that schedule of the Malaysian Constitution, supported by the state’s Oil Mining Ordinance 1958, oil and gas companies would have to ask permission from the state government to be able to conduct oil and gas operations including mining and downstream activities in the state.

“With that item and under section 27 of that Ordinance, I am granting Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) the licence to operate in the state.

“Other companies like Petronas would have to ask for our permission if they want to dig for our oil. If they fail to comply with our rules, they can go elsewhere,” said Abang Johari.

He also revealed that the new CEO for Petros has been appointed and is a Bidayuh man with vast experience in the oil and gas industry. When asked for the CEO’s name, Abang Johari declined to reveal further details. — DayakDaily