JOHOR BARU: The world’s biggest ship-to-ship (STS) hub is still within Johor's jurisdiction, says state executive councillor Jimmy Puah Wee Tse (pic), after an article from a portal quoted KA Petra Sdn Bhd chairperson Shahrul Amirul as saying the hub was outside the state's territory.
Shahrul said this was because it was located 3.5 nautical miles from Johor shores.
According to Puah, as a former legal practitioner and a student of law of the seas, he found the statement wholly irresponsible from a person lacking knowledge or legal background on the matter.
“Two key components of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) are found in Section 3(1), which basically endorse the definition of Territorial Sea as defined by the 1982 Law of the Sea at 12 nautical miles and Section 3(3), which seek to limit the state jurisdiction to 3 nautical miles.
“The problem is Article 2 of the Federal Constitution stipulated that Parliament may, by law, alter the boundaries to any state, but a law altering the boundaries shall not be passed without the consent of that state in a state legislature and of the Conference of Rulers,” he added.
Puah, who is the International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman and Bukit Batu assemblyman, said this in a statement here on Friday (April 5).
He added that as far as he was aware, no such motion or enactment was ever passed in the Johor state legislative assembly, nor received any royal assent from the ruler.
“Hence, I will assert that, similar to land jurisdiction, the state water jurisdiction runs parallel with that of Malaysia and shall be 12 nautical miles in view that Section 3(3) of the Act is in direct violation of the Federal Constitution unless and until the state approved it under the existing legal mechanism.
“It must also be noted that this is not a novel issue, as previously Sabah, Sarawak and Kelantan have also challenge this part of the TSA,” he added.
Puah said land and water jurisdictions were sacrosanct to the state, as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.
“We are minded to always be vigilant and defend our state’s right, should any party seek to challenge our sovereignty,” he said.
KA Petra Sdn Bhd and world-renowned Hutchison Ports Holdings Ltd signed an agreement to develop the hub, which can accommodate the berthing of 30 vessels for the transfer of petroleum-based products, and liquefied natural gas.
The project cost is estimated at US$150mil to US$180mil (RM612mil to RM735mil) and construction is expected to be completed by 2021.
It came into the limelight after Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim shared a posting on his Facebook page, which criticised the project.
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