Set up Dayak Land Foundation, suggests STAR leader

Lina Soo

Set up Dayak Land Foundation, suggests STAR leader

KUCHING, Dec 30: The Sarawak government should form a Dayak Land Foundation to survey, create and own the land bank for the Dayak Community.

State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo made this proposal in a statement today in conjunction with New Year countdown.

On constitutional happenings in Sarawak in 2018, she listed amendments to the Sarawak Land Code to create usufructuary rights over native territorial domain and the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO).  

She stressed that the court ruled in Sarawak’s favour that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) does not repeal OMO; otherwise, an oil company can be bigger than the State of Sarawak itself to override Sarawak laws and regulations.

“OMO, which compels oil companies who wish to prospect, explore and mine our oil and gas resources in Sarawak to apply for the permits and licences, is updated and will be enforced in 2020. 

“Nevertheless, it may have been the resurrection of OMO that threw Petronas into panic mode and prompted it to take the Sarawak government to the Federal Court to assert its rights over oil and gas in Sarawak,” she said.

On the PDA, Soo maintained the stand that the PDA, which is a federal law, is ultra vires (beyond the power of) the Federal Constitution and void against Sarawak as Parliament lacks the legislative competency to deal with the subject matter of land, which is within the jurisdiction of the Sarawak Government.   

“It follows that all subsequent Acts done in pursuance of the unconstitutional PDA, i.e. the vesting of Sarawak petroleum resources in Petronas and the capacity to enter into contracts and agreements must, therefore, also be unconstitutional. 

“In view of the acrimony over regulatory rights, economic rights and ownership of oil and gas in Sarawak, STAR proposed that the Sarawak government repudiate the PDA and Territorial Sea Act (TSA) in DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly). After that, propose to Parliament that both Acts be provided with an additional clause to exclude Sarawak, where these federal laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable as Sarawak DUN has not approved both laws.”  

Soo said STAR maintained this as a matter of urgency as Sarawak has special protections not available to the states of Malaya under our Sarawak Constitution and municipal laws, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Federal Constitution, Sarawak Land Code, customary law and international law. 

“This is to safeguard our oil, gas and other natural resources for our future generations.”

On religion, Soo said Malaysia’s official religion is Islam, but this does not apply to Sarawak, which has no official religion as provided for under Item 15 of the Inter-Governmental Report and Article 11 of the Malaysia Agreement.  

“Sarawak also has special religious freedom not available to other states of Malaysia in that our State Constitution does not forbid the ‘propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the Muslim religion’ and vice versa. This special Sarawak right can only be waived by a two-thirds majority vote in DUN.

“Under the Federation agreement, Muslim law is a state matter and Sarawak has its own Islamic authorities without the need for any intervention from the federal Islamic institutions.” — DayakDaily