KUCHING, July 17: The Petroleum Development Act (PDA) is only a Malaysian statute and cannot alter Sarawak’s rights that are enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Minister of International Trade and e-Commerce Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said the PDA, like any other laws in the country — including the Federal Constitution — could not amend or override MA63 as it is a specific safeguard pertaining to the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.
He added that the agreement supersedes the PDA and the Federal Constitution. Without the agreement, there would not be any Malaysia Federation and, therefore, no constitution and PDA.
Asking the court to interpret the PDA without first recognising the supremacy of the Malaysia Agreement is like looking at a leaf on a tree without recognising that without the root, there would be no tree and no leaf. The leaf, like the PDA, is insignificant. The root gives life to the tree, just like the Malaysia Agreement gave life to Malaysia, he added.
“Petronas filed a suit against the state of Sarawak to seek to enforce its purported rights under the PDA. Did Petronas do so with the tacit consent of the prime minister? If it did, then that is clearly contrary to Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto, which promises to restore Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement.
“But if Petronas is on a frolic of its own in filing the suit without knowledge or approval of the prime minister, then it is incumbent on the Pakatan-led government to put a stop to any further steps that may be taken by Petronas after its initial suit was dismissed by the Federal Court on a jurisdictional point,” Wong said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
The Bawang Assan assemblyman believed that those who do not recognise the supremacy of MA63 was in fact calling into question the very formation of Malaysia in the first place.
Wong reminded those present that Sarawak was entitled to all its rights under the Malaysia Agreement.
“We would like to appeal to the federal leadership to consider favourably giving back the rights that are due to the state. I’m sure our state and federal leadership would not want to adopt steadfastly the attitude of ‘winners take all’ and ‘losers lose all’.
“To resolve all our disputes, all that is necessary is a little ‘give and take’, a little concern for each other’s feelings, sincerity, care and conviction in our minds and hearts that we truly want and value unity to share the spirit of togetherness for the good our state and nation,” he reasoned. — DayakDaily