KUCHING: The Sarawak Attorney General's Chambers has been served with a notice from the Federal Court Registry that the state government was being made a party in a suit by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), in the case of Petroliam Nasional Bhd Vs Sarawak State Government.
This was confirmed by Sarawak Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring), Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who said the application for leave made under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution would be heard on June 12 in Putrajaya.
She said at the moment, the state government had yet to receive the motion filed by Petronas related to the application.
“The state government will do everything within its power, in accordance with the rule of law to defend our rights in this matter,” she said in a press statement here yesterday.
In Kuala Lumpur, the national oil corporation said it had filed an application before the Federal Court, seeking a declaration on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) being the law applicable for the petroleum industry in Malaysia.
The company is seeking the court to declare that under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), it is the exclusive owner of the petroleum resources in the country, including Sarawak.
The application is also to state Petronas is the exclusive owner of the petroleum resources as well as the regulator for the upstream industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak. Petronas believes the determination by the Federal Court would help provide clarity on its rights and position under the PDA.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had on March 6 this year announced Sarawak's regulatory power over oil and gas.
However, Chong Chieng Jen who is chairman for both Sarawak Pakatan Harapan and state DAP, said that Abang Johari's announcement was just another one of his “hot air” stunts, trying to fool Sarawakians into believing there is “devolution of power” while the main control and benefits of oil and gas remains under control of the Federal Government.
Chong, who is newly-elected Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa state assemblyman has regarded the announcement by the chief minister as “much ado about nothing”, and a big disappointment.
He said despite his announcement and the so-called devolution of power, Sarawak's entitlement to the oil and gas royalties remained a meagre 5%, the remaining revenue generated from the exploration of oil and gas remained with the Federal Government and Petronas.
Furthermore, he noted, by virtue of the provisions of the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, the ultimate ownership and control of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak remained with Petronas and the Prime Minister.
He said unless the provisions of PDA were amended or repealed, whatever laws or regulations passed by the Sarawak State Assembly or set by the State Government would become redundant and ineffective laws.
He added that with the existence of another law, the Territorial Sea Act, 2012, Sarawak only had rights covering the area within three nautical miles, anything beyond the said three nautical miles belonged to the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Pakatan came up with a new deal in the recent 14th General Election which promised an outright 20% oil and gas royalties or value equivalent if PH captured Putrajaya. — Bernama