KUCHING, May 17: A special cabinet committee will be set up by the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government to enforce the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) for Sabah and Sarawak.
State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman See Chee How said Pakatan is committed to restoring both states to their rightful place as enshrined in MA63 and the Federal Constitution.
The commission, comprising representative experts from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, will provide detailed findings to Putrajaya within six months of its establishment.
“The commission’s main task is to review and propose measures to rectify the status of MA63 based on current legislation,” the Batu Lintang assemblyman told a press conference at his service centre here on Thursday.
He added that returning Sabah and Sarawak their status accorded in MA63 is one of five pillars under the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The setting up of the committee is one of 10 promises that Pakatan Harapan is committed to fulfilling within the first 100 days of administration.
On a separate note, See advised Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to call for the next Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting before July to deliberate the state’s sovereign power and rights in its oil and gas industry.
This pertains to the issuance of permits and licences for mines, mining leases and certificates under Item 2 (c) of the State list under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
He explained that regulatory adjustments in oil and gas industry entities involved in the exploration, prospecting and mining of petroleum should be tabled, deliberated and passed in the legislative assembly before it can be made enforceable.
The objective and stance of the state government with regards to the Territorial Sea Act 2012, Petroleum Development Act 1974 and the Tripartite Agreement signed between the state government, Federal Government and Petronas must be clear, he argued.
“PKR lauds and fully supports the state government’s effort to reclaim Sarawak’s constitutional authority to regulate the exploration, prospecting and mining of petroleum and all other mineral resources within its territory, but that must be done in the manner that is constitutional, lawful and following legislative process,” See said.
The state government must address the constitutionality and legality of the Petroleum Development Act and Territorial Sea Act, application of the provisions in Sarawak, as well as the ownership of oil and gas resources within the territory of Sarawak.
The state government announced in April that companies involved in the oil and gas industries in Sarawak, beginning July 1, must obtain licences and leases required under the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016. — DayakDaily