STAR chief takes Chong to task for his stand on Sarawak rights

Lina Soo

KUCHING, July 11: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo expressed shock and outrage over state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s stand on Sarawak’s oil and gas rights.

Commenting on the Kota Sentosa assemblyman’s objection to the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday, Soo said it seemed Chong had rejected Sarawak’s rights and preferred to handover these rights to Petronas on a silver platter.

“What is wrong with Sarawak asserting its authority and power to regulate the mining industry in Sarawak?” she asked, in a statement issued today.

Soo said she was outraged that Chong was defending the federal government and Petronas, which was created out of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, in rejecting the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, which pre-existed the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and PDA 1974.

Chong, who is also Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, in his debate on the proposed bill yesterday, said the proposed amendment was “shiok sendiri” only.

Soo argued that the PDA neither repealed Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council 1954 nor the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958.

Referring to Annex C of the Malaysia Agreement, which is the Constitution of the State of Sarawak, she said Article 27 states the supremacy of the Constitution of Sarawak, where “Any Ordinance passed on or after Malaysia Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”.

“Is Chong pulling the wool over the eyes of the people of Sarawak by alleging that the Sarawak Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement, which pre-date the Federal Constitution, are subservient to the Federal Constitution? This would be like saying that the grandfather and mother are inferior to the child,” said Soo.

Soo stressed that the crux of the matter was that the PDA and Territorial Sea Act (TSA) were not passed by DUN and, as such, the Acts were unconstitutional and unenforceable in Sarawak. Hence, it is imperative that DUN must pass the bill to reject PDA and TSA to safeguard Sarawakians from the ‘predatory’ advances and plunder by Petronas of Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.

“This is not to question the validity of PDA and TSA as federal laws at this juncture but to put on constitutional record that both Acts shall not apply to Sarawak,” she added.

Soo again suggested that the state incorporate an oil sovereign wealth fund to be managed by professionals for the benefit of the Sarawak people. She claimed Norway, UAE and Qatar had such sovereign funds based on their oil income, and they generated high returns on investments. — DayakDaily