Sarawak’s total control over its oil and gas distribution to be returned on June 1 in historic move

A file photo of Samarang Offshore Complex oil and gas platform, Labuan. — Photo credit: Sangu Nelus

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 14: The Federal government will return the full control and management of oil and gas distribution in Sarawak effective June 1, 2021.

Describing it as an “historic” decision, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said the decision was made during today’s Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

According to, the meeting was attended by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

Except for the security control which will still be under the federal government, the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (BHESS) and the National Security Council of Malaysia will arrange for the full handover to take place.

The return of control and management of oil and gas distribution in Sarawak was made under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance 2016.

Then news portal also reported that two papers were tabled in today’s meeting. The first concerned the proposed constitutional amendments under Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution, which involves the definition of Federation.

On July 1, 2018, Sarawak’s Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 (GDO) came into effect.

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) passed the Ordinance on Nov 21, 2016. Among others, the GDO stipulates that all activities associated with the distribution of oil and gas, upstream and downstream, will need to be licensed by the Sarawak government.

During the DUN sitting, Utilities Minister Dato Sri Stephen Rundi Utom, who tabled the Bill, explained that these activities also include import of liquefied natural gas, re-gasification, treatment, separation and processing of gas; transport, supply and retail of gas; and the construction, management and maintenance of gas pipelines, terminals, plants and facilities.

He added that GDO covered all types of gas, including natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and specialty gases used in hi-tech industries and hospitals.

Petronas, as a producer and supplier of gas for distribution in Sarawak, is subjected to the new law where they need to hold a licence to continue to operate. — DayakDaily