Sarawak’s continental shelf rights maintained at 200 nautical miles from coast, Territorial Sea Act inconsequential

Sharifah Hasidah during the third reading of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 today (May 18, 2022) in DUN. Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) livestream.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 18: The Territorial Sea Act 2012 is inconsequential to Sarawak, where the State’s rights over its continental shelf remains within 200 nautical miles from the coast.

The assurance was given by Deputy Minister in Premier of Sarawak Department Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) during the third reading of the tabling of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 at Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.

“The said 1954 Order in Council extends the boundaries of Sarawak to include that part of the continental shelf being the seabed and its subsoil which lies beneath the high seas contiguous to the territorial waters of the State and does not affect the character of the high seas and any waters above the areas of the continental shelf.

“Therefore, the boundaries of Sarawak which included the continental shelf remains within the boundaries of the State after Malaysia Day by the reason of Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution.

“For this reason, the Territorial Sea Act does not affect the State’s sovereign right over the continental shelf which is 200 nautical miles from the coast,” said Sharifah Hasidah.

Quoting Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg during a negotiation on the Malaysia Agreement 1963, she stressed that the boundaries of Sarawak as extended by the 1954 Order in Council is “non-negotiable”.

““We will not open that for any negotiation,” ” she said, responding to Bakelalan assemblyman Baru Bian who sought clarification whether the Alteration Boundaries (Sarawak) Order in Council 1954, has been affected by the Territorial Sea Act 2012 which limits the water territorial waters of Sarawak to three nautical miles. — DayakDaily