By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, March 11: State Reform Party (Star) president Lina Soo considers Petronas’ operations in Sarawak illegal as two bills passed in Parliament — the Petroleum Development Act of 1974 and the Sea Territorial Act 2012 — that allowed it to operate here was never endorsed by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN).
As such, she called on the state government to put on record during the next State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to declare both bills as null and void.
“Actually, we are going to have our annual general meeting (AGM) on March 31. So (writing to the DUN to highlight) this issue will be on our agenda for the state government to put on record.
“(Because) silence is consent. How come you (state government) never said anything in the last 50 years? (So, we) just want to put on record. The Hansard is our constitutional record.
“I have been talking about this thing, and I don’t know why the government is dragging its feet for whatever reasons,” Soo told a press conferee at a hotel here today.
However, she insisted that to ‘claw back’ some of the money from the federal government, Sarawak had been doing the right thing by imposing the sales tax on petroleum products extracted from Sarawak.
“Five per cent is too low. We can increase it to 20 per cent, 30 per cent or even 50 per cent. You see the federal government imposed Petroleum Tax at 46 per cent, but it has reduced it to 38 per cent.
“Actually, Sarawak is the landowner. We should be getting this tax but the federal government has taken it. And then Petronas gives the dividends to that side. All these that they have taken actually belongs to Sarawak.
“But the only constitutional means for us now is to impose the sales tax. Get some money back, get some billions (of ours) back. Step by step, we have taken back,” she said.
Soo also demanded that Sarawak be compensated for the wealth lost to the federal government and Petronas as a result of federal laws that are unconstitutional and cannot be applied to Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Federal Constitution.
On the announcement by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, she advised all Sarawak MPs to be cautious with the proposed bill before voting for it.
She also challenged state PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen to explain the meaning of the return of “equal partner status”.
“Is MP Chong implying that Sarawak will get one-third of the annual national budget, one-third of the seats in Parliament and even more importantly, all economic and property rights over Sarawak oil and gas will be returned to Sarawak?” she asked.
She also appealed to the federal government not to stop at Article 1(2) but to amend and/or repeal all the federal legislation altering MA63 to be declared null and void.
She said the amendment to Article 1(2) must be read together with Article 95 (D), which states that ‘in relation to the State of Sabah or Sarawak, Clause (4) of Article 76 shall not apply nor shall paragraph (b) of Clause (1) of that Article’. — DayakDaily