STAR chief tells Abang Jo oil and gas issue concerns all Sarawakians

Lina Soo

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KUCHING, August 14: State Reform Party (STAR) disagrees with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s recent call to Sarawakians not to politicise the oil and gas issue and to leave the matter to professionals.

Its president, Lina Soo, argued that every Sarawakian needed to be concerned as Sarawak’s natural resources belonged to the people.

“It is a major issue of Sarawak’s right that has been exploited and violated by the federal government. This is a major breach of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the Sarawak Constitution and the Federal Constitution, which has resulted in 44 years of poverty and failed development, making Sarawak the poorest and most backward territory,” said Soo, in a statement today.

Soo questioned why Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) needed to discuss with Petronas on Sarawak’s oil rights when it should be for Petronas to seek Petros’ approval for mining licence, in compliance with Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958.

“It is for Petros to manage, to govern our mining activities and to give instructions on technical and financial arrangements to Petronas. It is not to negotiate with Petronas in any way that can compromise our territorial rights and sovereignty,” she opined.

STAR also wondered why there had been no gas utilisation project in Sarawak, unlike in the peninsula.

“Bintulu is one of the top three in world production of gas, yet why is Malaya given more gas subsidy as compared to Sarawak?

“Why is our abundant gas not piped to customers in the commercial and industrial sectors in Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei and Kalimantan, whereas the Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU) system operated by Petronas Gas Bhd has the gas pipeline linked to Singapore and Thailand?” she asked.

Soo maintained that oil and gas rights were a major political issue, and the state government was duty bound to keep Sarawakians duly informed in a transparent and accountable manner.

“If political parties have to be stifled and silenced on political issues that concern Sarawakians and which can affect our future generations, then the government and political parties have failed in their duty and obligations to which they were elected for,” said Soo. — DayakDaily