Soo: Decisions on oil and gas should get consent of DUN

Soo showing a copy of Section 2(2) of the PDA 1974 Schedule. Also seen is assistant treasurer Albert Voon.

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By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 22: Any ‘exclusive’ proposals and discussions in relation to the state oil and gas made between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg must be presented and passed by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN).

In highlighting this, State Reform Party Sarawak (Star) president Lina Soo reminded that the oil and gas resources of the state belonged to 2.8 million Sarawakians and the future generations, and not only to Abang Johari and Dr Mahathir.

“The state government must do the right thing by being transparent and leaders must be accountable to all Sarawakians in pursuit of the state’s economic rights,” she told a press conference today.

Soo was puzzled over the talk shrouded in secrecy after Abang Johari confirmed that the oil and gas rights of Sabah and Sarawak were being discussed directly between himself, Dr Mahathir and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“The last time our former Sarawak chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Ya’kub discussed this matter with former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, it has resulted the signing away of our oil and gas ownership, rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, obtaining petroleum laying offshore and onshore to Petronas,” she pointed out.

“It was on March 27, 1975 when Ya’kub granted the perpetuity and vested in Petronas all our oil and gas rights under the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 Schedule, Section 2(2), which he signed, purportedly on behalf of the government of Sarawak. The consequences from that action has caused Sarawakians suffering economic losses up to trillions since then,” she added.

Soo thus maintained that the PDA 1974 was an unconstitutional vesting order as Ya’kub had no authority to give away any state resources without the consent of DUN.

She also highlighted that Article 95D of the Federal Constitution stipulates exclusion for Sabah and Sarawak of parliament’s power to pass uniform laws about land, and federal government may not make any laws pertaining to land, which is exclusively a State List item.

“It was only in April this year that a resolution was passed in DUN to the effect that the placement of any subject matter in the Legislative List must have consent of the august House in the form of a resolution duly passed by a majority of its honourable members,” she said.

“So does Abang Johari have the mandate to talk to (Dr) Mahathir on one-to-one basis and will any decision reached between the two be of legal effect or only if it obtained the consent through the majority of our members in DUN?” she asked.

Soo, however, said she was not condemning the efforts by Abang Johari and Dr Mahathir, but reminded that history must not be repeated.

“We do not want the same thing to repeat again. Therefore we must be preemptive. We cannot afford another major blunder and allow Sarawakians to continue suffering,” she said, adding that two wrongs will not make a right.— DayakDaily