SUPP’s proposal to make every Sarawakian a Petros shareholder a ‘bad idea’

SARAWAK PKR vice-president See Chee How said Sarawak United People’s Party’s (SUPP) proposal to make all Sarawakians shareholders in state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) is “a bad idea”.

See, the Batu Lintang assemblyman, dismissed the proposal passed at the party’s annual delegates conference in Kuching yesterday as “just a populist idea to appeal to the urban folk”.


‘Politics need not dominate oil royalty talks’

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says the issue of oil royalty needs to be discussed professionally between Petronas, representing the federal government, and Petros, which represents the Sarawak government.

He said politics must not be too dominant in the discussion, which was now ongoing between the two parties.

According to him, the discussion started following the Federal Court decision in June to dismiss Petronas’s proceeding to obtain court declaration to have exclusive ownership on oil and gas resources in the state.

Abang Johari delivering his speech.

“We leave it to professionals, let it be done professionally…politics must not be too dominant in the discussion. To me, let it (oil royalty) be discussed based on our right and how we benefit from oil and gas industry for the sake of the country and how Sarawak, which has the rights, can participate in the oil and gas industry…let it be discussed professionally,” Abang Johari said yesterday at the ‘Chief Minister with the media: The way forward’ event at Grand Margherita hotel here.

He pointed out that he would not want to make comments on the oil royalty as it could jeopardise the ongoing discussion.

“I do not want to be trapped into this argument (oil royalty) because there is now discussion between Petros and Petronas…I do not want to jeopardise their discussion, and Petros is exerting our right…let them work together,” he stressed, adding that the Sarawak government has the right to have regulatory control over its oil and gas.

Abang Johari also informed that whatever decision reached at the discussion would be referred to the federal government by Petronas, and to the state government by Petros.

Having said that, the chief minister stressed that the 20 per cent oil royalty should be based on production and not profits.

Abang Johari (seated fifth left) with Uggah (fourth left), Masing (third right), Morshidi (third left), Abdullah (second left) and Sharifah Hasidah (second right) in a photo call with the media practitioners after the function.

He further pointed out that there had been no communication between the federal and state governments about the oil royalty.

Thus, he said the ‘5 plus 20’ formula as mentioned by state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Ching Chieng Jen was not from the federal government.

Chong, outside the Parliament on Monday, told reporters that while the five per cent royalty would be retained, the state would receive an additional 20 per cent in oil profits.

The chief minister also pointed out that when the state government rejected the offer in a memorandum sent by PH Sarawak to his office before the 14th general election, PH was not the government, adding that that memorandum was just from the party.

Abang Johari also stressed that the state would continue to fight for its rights based on rule of law as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Federal Constitution and Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958.

“If that is our rights, that is our rights…nothing more, nothing less,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said there was a good working relationship between the federal and state government as demonstrated by the visit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and several federal ministers to Sarawak.

He said the state government would support any policies made by the federal government, if they are good for the state and the people.

Abang Johari (left) taking question from Abdullah Saidol on stage. Abdullah is also the moderator for the event.


Petros and Petronas in discussion over S’wak’s share from O&G revenue – CM

Abang Johari speaking during the Meet The Media Session at Grand Margherita Hotel here today. Also seen on the right is Abdullah.

KUCHING: Petroleum Sarawak (Petros) and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) are currently in a discussion over Sarawak’s share from the oil and gas (O&G) revenue through royalty, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“There is now a discussion between our side, Petros and Petronas. I do not want to jeopardise their discussion. Petros is asserting our rights, let them work together.

“They will report to federal and state governments, that is why I advised people against commenting too much on this,” he disclosed during Meet The Media Session at Grand Margherita Hotel here today which was moderated by Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs, Abdullah Saidol.

Although the Chief Minister did not delve much into the discussion between Petros and Petronas, he stressed that Sarawak must stick to its rights over oil and gas, particularly over regulatory control.

He confirmed that royalty is based on production and not profit.

On the ‘New Deal Agreement’ offered by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak to the Sarawak Government prior to the 14th General Election, Abang Johari commented: “The volume of 20 per cent royalty is what they (Pakatan Harapan Sarawak) promised and put in manifesto and nothing to do with us. It is their promise.

“Now they want to change their mind, not us, up to you la. But, I stick to our rights and we have OMO (Oil Mining Ordinance). I do not want to be dragged into this argument.”

Abang Johari said as far as he knew, the ‘New Deal Agreement’ came from a political party and not from the federal government.

“As far as I know, there was a memorandum sent to my office, at that time they were not government. This new deal is only from them as a political party and we as political party can also propose ours – our suggestions,” he said.

To further complicate matter, Abang Johari said that PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen is not even a member of Malaysia Cabinet because he is only the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism.


Abang Johari: Sarawak govt to assert right to regulate oil and gas industry

KUCHING: Sarawak will continue to assert its right to regulate the oil and gas industry in the state while pursuing royalties based on production, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Chief Minister said Petronas was now in discussions with the state-owned oil and gas company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), pursuant to the passing of the Oil Mining Ordinance (Amendment) Bill in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly earlier this month.

The updated ordinance requires oil and gas industry players, including Petronas, to obtain licences and permits from the state government for their upstream activities.

They have been given a grace period until the end of next year to comply.

Abang Johari said he did not want to be dragged into the argument about whether the 20% royalty promised by Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto was based on production or profits in view of the ongoing discussion between Petronas and Petros.

“I do not want to jeopardise the discussion. Let them work together.

“Whatever decision they make, they will refer to the Federal Government as well as the state government.

“We leave it to the professionals. Politics must not be too dominant in this discussion,” he said during a high tea with the media here on Tuesday (July 31).

On Sarawak Pakatan’s announcement on Monday (July 30) that the state will be given 20% oil profits on top of the existing 5% royalty, Abang Johari said this came only from the state Pakatan parties and not the Federal Government.

“If it’s from the Federal Government, there will be communication with the state government. But as it is, there is no communication whatsoever,” he said.

He also reiterated that royalty must derive from production, not profit, and that the state would not give in on this matter.

“How can you say royalty is based on profits? Royalty means ownership.

“The oil and gas are found on our land, therefore how can we give in? That is our right.

“If (Pakatan) promised 20% in their manifesto and now they want to change their promise, that has nothing to do with us. That is up to them.

“But we must stick to the rights that we have over oil and gas, particularly our regulatory control,” he said.


Sarawak needs more to develop infrastructure, rural areas – Abang Johari

Abang Johari (second right) accompanies Taib (third left) upon his departure from the Sarawak Independence Day celebration today.

By Jeremy Veno

KUCHING: Sarawak needs four times the current quantum of allocation from the federal government in order to be able to develop good infrastructure throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak, especially in the rural areas.

Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg  who spoke at the opening of the Sarawak Independence Day celebration at the Celebration Square, Jalan Stadium today said this is why the state wants it rights over the oil and gas as a channel to derive more revenue for development.

“Our current strong financial reserve is partly the accumulation of revenue from the oil and gas industry on our shores,” said Abang Johari.

Sarawak he added can expect to earn more from the gas industry as the state now have a 10 per cent stake in LNG Train 9 and 25 per cent in LNG 3.

“This money will be given back to the people when we develop our rural water supply, construct more bridges and build more roads instead of just relying on the Federal Government which has the whole country to look after,” he added.

On another note, he also pointed out the victory of the Oil and Gas Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 which gives Sarawak the full regulatory power overall persons and companies, including Petronas, involved in the activities of oil and gas, on shore and offshore, in Sarawak.

“We have gone to the Federal Court against Petronas and the court has declined to give leave to Petronas to declare that OMO 1958 is not valid. This initial victory was the victory of the people of Sarawak,” he added.

OMO 1958 he added is also the main reason why Petros was formed to become the regulatory power over Sarawak’s oil and gas activities.

Abang Johari however assured that the State Government will always be very rational and business friendly in its dealing with Petronas as the national oil company.

“We also want to be always reasonable with all other players in the industry as any attitude to the contrary will not benefit Sarawak and the nation as a whole,” he added.

On another note, Abang Johari also reiterated that there is no need for Sarawak to exit Malaysia.

“Being in Malaysia does not mean that we cannot ask for our legal rights based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Constitution. I believe now with our political independence through GPS we have a better and stronger platform to voice our opinion freely to protect the interest of Sarawak,” he added.

Also present were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan as well as other state and federal dignitaries.


Petros has no hand in Oman venture – CMO

Petros has nothing to do with the venture in Oman as alleged in Sarawak Report article. – File photo.

KUCHING: The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) today clarified the online portal Sarawak Report’s reference to Petros in its July 20 article has got nothing to do with the state-owned petroleum company.

The office in a press statement was referring to the article entitled “Taib’s Secret Interest in Sarawak’s Petros Venture”.

It was understood that the article has gone viral in many chat groups and the social media. The CMO statement too has also been uploaded in Facebook.

“With regards to the content of the article, this office wishes to clarify that Petros, the state oil company and co-regulator of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak have nothing to do with the venture in Oman as alleged in the article,” CMO statement said.

Though there was a MoU signed but it had lapsed and it was merely an understanding for Petros to assist should the company intended to invest in Sarawak, the CMO statement added.

At best the article is only a speculation in an attempt to smear PETROS’ image for reasons only known to Sarawak Report, the CMO statement claimed.


Registration of GPS expected to be finalised in August – CM

Abang Johari (fourth left) and his wife Juma’ani (centre) and Paulus to his right with other VVIPs at the Sarawak Backbenchers Club Gawai Raya Nite 2018 held at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching.

KUCHING: The registration of Sarawak’s new political platform Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) is expected to be finalised in August.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said although the new coalition is in the process of registering with the Registrar of Societies, everybody has already acknowledged its existence.

“Walaupun kita belum lagi mendaftar (even though we are not registered yet), God willing it will be finalised by next month (August) – everything will be finalised,” he added.

Abang Johari being welcomed by Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh upon his arrival to attend the Sarawak Backbenchers Club Gawai Raya Nite 2018 at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching. Also seen are Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women and Family Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (left) and Paulus (behind Abang Johari).

He was speaking at the Sarawak Backbenchers Club Gawai Raya Nite 2018 at Grand Margherita Hotel here on Wednesday night.

Present were his wife Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, State Legislative Assembly speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Sarawak Backbenchers Club chairman Paulus Palu Gumbang (Batu Danau assemblyman), state cabinet ministers and assistant ministers and their wives.

Abang Johari said the next thing is for the component parties to promote the coalition and its struggles at the grassroots level.

“This is very hard work among us because one of it is that we are going to chair our party and continue to develop our effort in developing our state,” he said.

On another matter, he mentioned that when an opposition assemblyman came to see him on an announcement he made on road and rural water supply projects costing billions of ringgit, he told him that the Sarawak government had its own formula to finance these projects.

“Thank God, we have a bank – the Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) as a conduit for us to finance all these projects and it would be included in our Malaysia Plan. This is something of a new model and I believe that we are the only state government with that model- the other states do not have it.

“With that, we do not have a problem in developing our state and from that perspective, I believe that we are able to deliver whatever we promise to our people.

“The question of state revenue, I think, the next session I will tell you the detail of how we can increase our revenue.”

Abang Johari said that it was also a blessing in disguise “in our new amended oil and mining ordinance that we have extra stream of revenue that we can get while at the same time we are able to get Sarawakians to participate in oil and gas not only downstream but also upstream”.

He said the Sarawak government had made an arrangement after a discussion with Petronas and Petros when they came to see him for mutual benefits of all parties when extracting oil and gas in the state with direct participation by foreign companies.

“If there is a direct participation by foreign companies with Petronas, it has to inform the Sarawak government. If there is direct participation with Petros, the Sarawak government will inform Petronas,” he said.

Abang Johari lauded the extraordinary performance of every backbencher at the just-concluded session of the State Legislative Assembly held from July 9 to 18.

“I have to say that every time I went down to the chambers, the enthusiasm and the research done by the backbenchers on the subject of their argument particularly on the subject of Sarawak Land Code as well as the Sarawak Oil and Mining Ordinance (impressed me).

“These two subjects are very dear to Sarawakians, firstly on the subject of Land Code – a drastic approach that had been taken and I must congratulate Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri (Datuk Amar Dr) James Jemut Masing as both of them were in the committee and in particular the secretariat under Datu Jaul Samion – all have done their work very well,” he said.


CM: DUN never endorsed PDA 1974

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly (DUN) never endorsed the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In his winding up speech yesterday, Abang Johari said the Oil Mining Ordinance of 1958 is a law that still remains in force today.

“The Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO 1958) gives Sarawak full regulatory authority over all persons and companies involved in the operations of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak,” he told the august House yesterday.

“Petronas applied to the Federal Court to seek a declaration that the Sarawak OMO 1958 was already repealed implicitly by the Petroleum Development Act (PDA). We are glad that this application to seek the declaration in the Federal Court was rejected by the Federal Court on June 22, 2018.”

Abang Johari stressed that Sarawak is proceeding with enforcing the OMO 1958 and the Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 effective July 1, 2018 through the Sarawak Minerals and Management Authority (SMMA) through Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

“The provisions for enforcement are tightened by the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill 2018 passed in this august House last week on July 10, 2018,” he said.

With the Gas Distribution Ordinance, he said, the Sarawak government will work closely with the Federal Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Petronas regarding the distribution of natural gas to consumers in Sarawak.

“We hope that Petronas can understand the position that the Sarawak government is taking. We wish to assure oil and gas industry players in Sarawak that the Sarawak government is reasonable and is business friendly,” he said.

“The Sarawak government expects Petronas to be friendly and cooperative. After all, Pakatan Harapan (PH) in its GE14 manifesto promised to deliver to Sarawak a petroleum royalty of 20 per cent, up from 5 per cent. This indicates that the PH federal government favours Sarawakians in its dealings, at the very least, in regards to petroleum.”

Abang Johari noted that this issue has been simmering in the hearts of Sarawakians since 1974, when the PDA was first promulgated in Parliament.

“Our goal is to restore to Sarawak rights that are enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63) – the international treaty between Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia, which puts Sarawak as an equal partner with Malaya and Sabah,” he pointed out.

“Among those rights are the rights of Sarawak to our own legislations, including those that were enacted before the formation of the Federation.”


Just what Sarawak needs

The Yang di-Pertua Negeri (front, second left) being welcomed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (on TYT’s right) upon his arrival at DUN Complex in Petra Jaya. Behind them are Taib’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib (behind Abang Johari, partly obscured) and the chief minister’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang (far back, at left). — Photo By Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The formation of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) by leaders in the Sarawak government is in line with the aspirations of the people of Sarawak.

In stating this, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the newly-formed coalition would provide a solid foundation for the Sarawak government to champion the rights and autonomy of Sarawak.

“I believe that GPS can become a strong and solid political coalition that can unite the people for the well-being and progress of Sarawak,” he said in his address at the opening of the 18th State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting at DUN Complex here yesterday.

The Head of  State also expressed his confidence that GPS would serve as an important platform to claim Sarawak’s rights from the federal government in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution. “I therefore urge the federal government to give their sincere cooperation to the state government to achieve this goal.”

Taib was also optimistic that the Sarawak government would be able to manage its natural resources well, particularly oil and gas, to ensure that Sarawakians could benefit from them.

“I am pleased that the efforts towards managing these resources effectively and sustainably have been implemented.

“I believe that enforcement of laws such as the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 will ensure that Sarawak’s valuable oil and gas resources are well established for the future of the people of Sarawak.”

In this regard, he said the establishment of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) is in line with the government’s efforts to manage the development of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak.

“This is in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to become the region’s leading oil and gas industry hub and collaborate with Petronas for the interest of the country, in particular Sarawak.

“Therefore, I call for the rights of Sarawak borders, especially the maritime borders, to be maintained and safeguarded. This is crucial so as to ensure that valuable natural resources such as oil and gas in Sarawak waters could be developed and managed for the benefit and prosperity of the state,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, Taib took the opportunity to congratulate Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the latter’s appointment as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia.

“I am confident that with his vast experience in economy, politics and social, Malaysia will continue to progress and prosper towards Vision 2020,” he said, expressing optimism that under Dr Mahathir’s leadership, the federal government would continue to implement programmes and projects in Sarawak for the well-being of the people.

He also congratulated Pakatan Harapan (PH) for winning the 14th general election and forming the new federal government.

Taib hoped that with the mandate given by the people to the PH-led federal government, the country and its citizens would continue to receive benefits in terms of development and prosperity.


Development plans put Sarawak on right track

KUCHING: Sarawak has achieved positive economic growth despite global economic uncertainty, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said.

He said the state’s economy grew by 4.7% last year compared to 2.3% in 2016, while the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita increased from RM44,000 in 2016 to RM46,000.

Exports also grew from RM77bil in 2016 to RM96bil last year. The poverty rate meanwhile dropped from 0.9% in 2014 to 0.6% last year and unemployment remained at less than 4%.

“Sarawak’s growth is supported by strong economic fundamentals, good administration and financial management by the state government,” Taib said when opening the Sarawak Legislative Assembly session here yesterday.

He said the state government’s development plans, such as the Socio-Economic Transformation Plan, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and Digital Economy Plan, would continue to boost growth and attract investment.

“These are people-centric plans that will improve socio-economic standards and create jobs, especially for the talented and highly-skilled younger generation,” he said.

In particular, he said the Digital Economy Plan could increase productivity in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and services by promoting the use of digital technology and applications.

“The digital economy has the potential to create new opportunities for our younger generation.

“I believe our young people have the creative and innovative skills necessary for the digital era,” he said.

On another matter, Taib expressed confidence that the state government would be able to manage Sarawak’s oil and gas resources for the benefit of the people.

He said efforts towards developing and managing these resources sustainably had been put in place, including the enforcement of the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 and the formation of Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

“This is in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to become an oil and gas hub in the region and to collaborate with Petronas for the interest of Malaysia and the state,” he said.

As such, he said Sarawak’s rights to its territorial waters must be preserved so that the oil and gas resources found there could be developed to benefit the state.


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