Pol sec sup­ports CM’s stand that Pet­ros will not be a part­ner of Petronas

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KUCHING: A po­lit­i­cal sec­re­tary to the chief min­is­ter Michael Tiang sup­ports Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg’s stand that Petroleum Sarawak Ber­had (Pet­ros) will not be a part­ner of Petronas.

Tiang con­curred with the Chief Min­is­ter that Pet­ros ought to en­joy its own rights to con­duct fos­sil ex­plo­rations within the state’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.

Ac­cord­ing to Tiang, Sarawak’s bound­aries were clearly de­ter­mined in the Sarawak (Al­ter­ation of Bound­aries) Or­der 1954 by the Queen in Coun­cil, and the re­stric­tion of three nau­ti­cal miles as stip­u­lated by the Sea Ter­ri­to­rial Act 2012 is un­con­sti­tu­tional, as the same Act was passed with­out the con­sent of Sarawak leg­is­la­ture.

He said: “Sarawak is the right­ful owner of the ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters up to 12 nau­ti­cal miles and shall there­fore en­joy the ab­so­lute rights to ex­plore fos­sil fuel and gas within its own ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.”

He sug­gested that the state gov­ern­ment con­sider ‘to en­act and ta­ble a new Sarawak Petroleum Or­di­nance to stip­u­late that no oil and gas ex­plo­ration within Sarawak ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters with­out ob­tain­ing per­mits from the Sarawak gov­ern­ment’.

“The new Or­di­nance should also give ex­clu­sive oil and gas ex­plo­ration rights in Sarawak ter­ri­to­ries to Pet­ros, the oil and gas com­pany wholly owned by the Sarawak gov­ern­ment, so as to re­place Petronas which had mo­nop­o­lised the oil and gas up­stream in­dus­try in Sarawak for decades,” he said.

Tiang also dis­agreed with claims by Petronas that the na­tional com­pany shall con­tinue to en­joy ex­clu­sive rights to do oil and gas ex­plo­ration in Sarawak by virtue of the Petroleum De­vel­op­ment Act 1974.

He ex­plained that “it is trite in the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion that any al­ter­ation of any state’s bound­aries by the Par­lia­ment, the con­sent of such state leg­is­la­ture con­cerned must be ob­tained be­fore any al­ter­ation af­fect­ing the state can be passed.”

“How­ever such con­sent was never ob­tained from the Sarawak leg­is­la­ture when the 1974 Act was passed in the Par­lia­ment,” he noted.

He said Sarawak would con­tinue to wel­come Petronas to par­tic­i­pate in oil and gas ex­plo­ration in Sarawak by join­ing Pet­ros as a part­ner or a con­trac­tor.

MICHAEL TIANG

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