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KUCHING, Nov 20: The Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA 1974) is unconstitutional and merely an action to exploit Sarawak’s resources, says State Reform Party Sarawak (STAR) president Lina Soo.
Expressed her full agreement with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on mining matters, Soo agreed that the PDA 1974 which places Sarawak’s mining rights under the sole authority of Petronas is an action to exploit the petroleum resources of Sarawak.
Soo went further on to say that PDA 1974 is in breach of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution, as the Act relied upon the altered boundaries of Sarawak which is inconsistent with Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution which provides that the boundaries of Sarawak shall be as stipulated before Malaysia Day; and Article 2(b) which forbids any alteration to the boundaries without prior consent of the Sarawak Legislature.
In 1954, Britain passed the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council which expressly defined Sarawak’s boundaries to include the continental shelf, being the seabed and its subsoil which lies beneath the high seas contiguous to the territorial waters of Sarawak.
“Sarawak’s petroleum resources are constitutionally included in the State List just like land and other natural resources which are under Sarawak jurisdiction,” Soo said in a press statement today.
“All mineral and other resources which lie within its territorial waters belong to Sarawak, or else the federal government would not have to make a 5 per cent payment to Sarawak.
Soo cited JC Fong, former Sarawak Attorney General in his book ‘Constitutional Federalism in Malaysia’, that prior to Malaysia Day, Sarawak owned and exercised powers over petroleum found within its boundaries
Soo said that pursuant to Article 4 (1) of the Federal Constitution, the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
She reiterated that the PDA passed by Parliament in 1974, did not follow a substantive provision of the Federal Constitution, as no purported vesting of those resources in Petronas can have any validity without the consent of the State Legislature.
The constitutionality of the PDA 1974 and the Territorial Sea Act 2012, neither of which were consented to by Sarawak in the manner provided for under the said Article 2 (b) of the Federal Constitution is questionable, as any law passed by Parliament purporting to alter the boundaries of Sarawak without the consent of the Sarawak Legislature is clearly unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
“After more than 42 years of its precious petroleum resources being poorly managed by Petronas to the effect there is hardly any development in Sarawak, it is time to set right the wrongful ‘vesting’ of its inalienable ownership rights to its petroleum resources.
“The federal government must stop pretending that Petronas has any ownership right or power over Sarawak’s petroleum resources,” stressed Soo. — DayakDaily