STAR chief urges Sarawak to reject 3 Acts that contravene MA63, Federal Constitution

Soo (right) gives Sharifah Hasidah two of her books during a courtesy call earlier today.

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KUCHING, July 5: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo today urged the Sarawak government to table a motion in the coming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to reject the Federal Constitution Article 1(2) Amendment A354 Sec 2, the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 144 and Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 750.

She said these three Acts had altered the political status and boundary of Sarawak without the consent of the State Legislature, and claimed they also contravened the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Earlier today, Soo paid a courtesy call on Assistant Minister for Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who led the Sarawak legal team in its fight against Petronas last month.

During the visit, Soo handed over a letter to Hasidah. Soo also passed two books that were written based on her research of declassified British colonial documents at the British National Archives. The two books are ‘Sarawak the Real Deal’ and ‘Sarawak Chronicle — Letters, Agreements, Laws and International Treaties’.

She said the federal government did not own Sarawak’s petroleum onshore and offshore, nor possess economic rights. It should also not exercise compulsory acquisition of oil and gas in the continental shelf of the state.

“Sovereignty and jurisdiction under international law on international boundaries, continental shelf, territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the coastal State of Sarawak do not confer ownership, economic and property rights upon the federal government.

“Sarawak, as a component state of the Federation of Malaysia, has special protections and provisions accorded under the MA63 and Federal Constitution, which are not available to the states of the Federation of Malaya formed in 1957, which Sarawak took no part in,” said Soo in her letter.

She said before Malaysia Day, Sarawak exercised powers over petroleum found within its extended boundaries, i.e. the seabed and subsoil, which lies beneath the high seas contiguous to the territorial waters of Sarawak. With its boundary maintained by virtue of Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution, after Malaysia Day, Sarawak continued to exercise rights over petroleum within its territory, including those found offshore, she added.

Soo said Article 76 (3) of the Federal Constitution states that a law made in pursuance of paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of clause (1) shall not come into operation in any State until it has been adopted by a law made by the Legislature of that State, and shall then be deemed to be a State law and not a federal law, and may accordingly be amended or repealed by a law made by that Legislature.

“Former ministers such as (Tun Datuk Patinggi Abdul) Rahman Yakub and (Pehin Sri Abdul) Taib Mahmud may have given their consent; but without constitutional process to be applied in accordance with Article 2(1) and Article 76(3)(4), the actions of such politicians are never binding upon the State of Sarawak; hence no purported vesting of those resources in Petronas can have any validity or force of law,” she argued.

Soo again suggested engaging the service of a Queen’s Counsel to assist the state fight its case.

“Direction should be sought from a Queen’s Counsel with competency and specialist knowledge of Constitutional Law, Public International Law and Federalism, with the view to proceed to the British Court for resolution of dispute,” she opined. — DayakDaily