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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Dec 13: Sarawak’s de facto Law Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali is confident that Sarawak will win the case against Petronas because she has the confidence in the judiciary under the New Malaysia.
She said her confidence was also based on the Federal Constitution and Sarawak Constitution such as the Oil and Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, the Sales Tax Ordinance, Sarawak Land Code and the Advocates Ordinance.
“As far as the Sarawak Government is concerned, we have a very strong case. The law is there. It is based on our constitutional rights. So, we hope the rule of law will be upheld based on the independence of the judiciary,” she said.
Sharifah Hasidah further explained that the five per cent State Sales Tax is a revenue assigned to Sarawak under item 7 Part (5) of the 10th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, wherein the tax should be paid to the State’s consolidated fund.
“We have imposed five per cent sales tax on all petroleum exported products as unanimously agreed during the last DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly) sitting,” said Sharifah Hasidah while giving a talk entitling “Briefing Text on State Sales Tax, Status of Negotiations for Sarawak’s Oil and Gas Rights and other Updates” in the “An Evening with Fellow Sarawakians: Talking What Really Matters”’ Forum here last night.
She was optimistic that Sarawak can win its case against Petronas as she believed that the New Malaysia has been professing that it is a government that upholds the rule of law.
“I believe in our judiciary and I hope that the prime minster, with the new Malaysia will uphold the rule of law.
“So, we cannot say that the court will favour the federal government because the judiciary is supposed to be independent and I believe the judges will look at the facts of the case. And they will be professional, which I believed they will,” she said when responding to a question raised by the audience.
The audience had raised the question whether the Federal Court will rule in favour of the federal government.
“I believe in the independence of the judiciary and the duty of the judges to uphold the law and to interpret the law as it is and I believe they will make sure that the laws are implemented and they are there to interpret the laws.
“The laws are quite clear under the constitution. Under the sales tax, the laws are all there. We are not breaching any law. In fact, this is our constitutional right that we are enforcing only now,” she reiterated.
Meanwhile, Shairfah Hasidah described Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s diplomatic skills as “par excellence” where he will continue to negotiate for Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“This will not be an easy journey. It is not like a walk in the park and the hills we climb is rather steep. For as long as there is the star and the moon and there is GPS, we will continue to fight. Agik Idup Agik Ngelaban,” she concluded. — DayakDaily