DAP today told Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg that his statement yesterday claiming the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) and the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) were “null and void” showed his ignorance of the country’s legal system.
“He can repeat such claims another 100 times, but as these two laws have not been repealed or amended to exclude their application to Sarawak, or declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court, Abang Jo’s (Abang Johari) claim remains mere hot air, an act of ‘shiok sendiri’ (self-indulgence),” Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said.
“Under our legal system, any law passed in Malaysia and duly gazetted to come into force is deemed good until it is repealed or the Federal Court declares it unconstitutional and null and void.
“Other than the Federal Court, no one, not even the prime minister, can declare a law passed in Parliament to be null and void,” Chong, who was also the Bandar Kuching MP, said, as a war of words broke out between state Tourism Minister Abdul Karim Hamzah and DAP over the chief minister saying yesterday that the two laws were “not relevant” in Sarawak.
Karim had criticised the opposition party for its scorn of Abang Johari’s effort to reclaim the state’s rights over its oil and gas.
DAP, however, said they were merely calling a spade a spade.
“Despite the self-declared rights of Abang Jo, the cold hard facts remain.”
“Sarawak’s entitlement to oil and gas royalties remains a meagre 5%; the remaining revenues generated from the exploration of oil and gas remain with the federal government and Petronas.
“The ultimate ownership and control of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak remains with Petronas and the prime minister; all Petronas pump stations will remain with Petronas and will not be converted to Petros pump stations.
“These are the facts,” Chong said.
“As such, I call upon Karim and Abang Jo to be truthful to the people of Sarawak and not disguise the continued exploitation of our resources by the BN government with laughable rhetoric like Abang Jo’s pronouncement that the PDA and TSA are ‘null and void’.”
The PDA gives Petronas absolute ownership and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties, and privileges to the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources, both onshore or offshore, in the state.
The TSA reduces the state’s sea boundaries and territorial jurisdiction from 12 nautical miles offshore to three, an act which Sarawakians have long accused the federal government of using to plunder the state’s offshore oil and gas resources.
The Sarawak chief minister had said the PDA and the TSA were ‘null and void’ because they violated the state’s rights in the federal constitution.
The laws have been endorsed by the state legislative assembly and the Conference of Rulers, as required by law. – March 9, 2018.