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