‘Petros to start prospecting activities in Miri this year’

Abang Johari (fifth left) with the SCCI exco and prominent business leaders in Miri.

MIRI: Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) will kick off exploration activities in Miri this year as the state will assume full regulatory authority over its oil and gas resources by July.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this at the business luncheon dialogue organised by Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Miri Region at Eastwood Golf and Country Club here yesterday.

He said the state will be able to exploit its oil and gas resources under the State List as per Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, challenging those who dismiss his assertion of the state’s rights as blowing ‘hot air and talking nonsense’.

“This augurs well for the business community when the activities start,” he said.

The chief minister, however, did not say when exactly such prospecting operations would kick off.

All persons and companies involved in the oil and gas industry must have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals required under either the state’s Oil Mining Ordinance or the Gas Distribution Ordinance.

Petros will spearhead the state’s participation in the oil and gas sector which is strategically important to the overall socio-economic development objectives of Sarawak, and it has been granted rights to mine oil and natural gas in the state and be an important player in the upstream oil and gas industry.

Abang Johari said the state has been fighting for oil and gas royalty to be raised to 20 per cent as spearheaded by his predecessor, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, but added it is not easy unless there is consent from the federal government as the Federal Constitution has put a cap of 10 per cent.

He was fielding questions from the floor on what the future holds for Miri, with Petros coming into the picture which was formerly dominated by Shell and Petronas.

Earlier in his address, he advised the community to be open to the bigger picture and look beyond the oil and gas industry as the engine of growth and business in this city.

The community, according to organising chairman Andy Chia, who is a former Pujut state assemblyman and SCCI Miri Region committee chairman, looks forward to Petros setting up base in Miri which is home to the oil and gas industry for over a century.

Giving an overview of his plans for the state, the chief minister said the private sector should be proactive and move out of their comfort zone into exciting new spheres of business with the onset of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

He said the history of Miri as the birthplace of the oil and gas industry in the state must be tampered with new economic realities of the onset of renewable energy gaining momentum, the need for more food, new tourism promotion with virtual reality, and other sectors which provide more opportunities and income.

He said there is a need to connect to the global economy, where QR Code, Fintech and other technologies are making the conventional way of doing business out of place and redundant, and Sarawak is in a hurry to catch up with digital economy and Industrial Revolution 4.0.

He proposed that tycoons or corporate figures pool their resources to lease planes for chartered flights to establish international linkages to Miri while tourism products are tailored to draw more tourists to the city.

On agriculture, Abang Johari said the state government had approved the purchase of a RM10million transport aircraft to boost exports of agriculture products from the state, particularly to the Singapore market which is the nearest.

The single engine Beech aircraft can carry up to three tonnes of goods and the state government has given the green light for the construction of an airstrip in Sadok (Agropolitan Area) in Betong and expansion runway at Bario Airport to cater to this demand.

Source: http://www.cm.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/pages.php?mod=news&sub=news_view&nid=1994

Sarawak leaders divided over state’s actions to defend its rights

IN March last year, the Sarawak government established the state’s own oil and gas exploration company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), modelled after national oil company Petronas.

While many Sarawakians were trying to figure out what role the company would play alongside Petronas, which has absolute monopoly over the state’s carbon resources, alarm bells were reported to be ringing in the Twin Towers and Putrajaya on the Sarawak government’s intent.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/131882

Oil royalty issue won’t sway Sarawak voters, says Uggah

BARISAN Nasional is confident that the issue of oil royalty harped by Pakatan Harapan ahead of the 14th general election will not sway voter sentiment in Sarawak, said Douglas Uggah Embas.

The deputy chief minister said the promise to grant 20% royalty to Sarawak was an old one that was recycled by the opposition.

“This is an old issue, full control over the oil and gas industry in Sarawak has been given to the state government, we will get returns of more than 20 per cent (of the royalty),” he said after officiating the rabies mass vaccination programme in Miri today.

Uggah, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, said voters in Sarawak were wise enough to judge for themselves the state government’s efforts of reclaiming Sarawak’s rights as stipulated in the federal constitution.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg announced that Sarawak would assume full regulatory control over the state’s oil and gas industry by July as part of the devolution of powers from the federal government.

Abang Johari made the announcement when he launched Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and assured that Sarawak would exploit its natural oil and gas resources as provided for under the federal constitution.

He said the devolution of powers was in keeping with the agreement by Prime Minister Najib Razak to return to Sarawak the powers provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that had been inadvertently eroded over the years.

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen, when launching the first phase of the opposition pact’s GE14 manifesto recently, was quoted as saying that the coalition would increase the oil royalty for Sarawak to 20% should they win the election. – Bernama, March 11, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/42392

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.

Source: http://www.cm.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/pages.php?mod=news&sub=news_view&nid=2138

Three-in-one fuel stations in Sarawak to offer fossil fuels, electricity and hydrogen

KUCHING: Sarawak plans to set up three-in-one fuel stations catering for vehicles powered by fossil fuel, electricity and hydrogen fuel cells.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said five stations will be built initially, starting at the end of this year.

“I have directed Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Bhd) and the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to set up three-in-one refuelling stations throughout the state.

“That is our next move,” he told reporters after launching Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) integrated hydrogen production plant and refuelling station here on Monday (May 27).

Abang Johari said the hydrogen plant and refuelling station – touted as the first in South-East Asia – were in line with the state government’s green energy agenda.

He said Sarawak, with five hydropower dams, had the potential to produce hydrogen from water as an alternative source of energy.

“The Sarawak government is going in the direction of green energy. We have hydropower, now we are producing hydrogen.

“This is still under research but we believe over time, there will be new technology that will make the process cheaper,” he said.
Abang Johari also said Sarawak could potentially export hydrogen in the future.

“There is already interest shown by one country to invest and set up a plant to produce hydrogen and they buy it back. This country wants to replace nuclear fuel with hydrogen,” he said, adding that he could not reveal the country as the matter was still being negotiated.

Earlier, SEB chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi said the hydrogen plant can produce 130kg of hydrogen daily and is capable of fully refuelling up to five fuel cell buses and 10 fuel cell cars per day.

At present, three buses operated by SEDC and two cars in SEB’s corporate fleet will be served by the facility.

“We are working together with SEDC, who leads the hydrogen-fuelled bus pilot project to improve and green our public transportation system.

“In addition, we have added two Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicles into our corporate fleet,” Abdul Hamed said.

SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the buses would be used as a pilot project to demonstrate the capabilities of hydrogen fuel cell technology for public transport in Sarawak.

He said the buses will commence operations as soon as SEDC receives the necessary permits from the relevant authorities

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/27/three-in-one-fuel-stations-in-sarawak-to-offer-fossil-fuels-electricity-and-hydrogen/

PETROS tak gugat kedudukan PETRONAS

KUALA LUMPUR: PETRONAS menegaskan kehadiran syarikat minyak dan gas baharu milik kerajaan negeri Sarawak, Petroleum Sarawak (PETROS), tidak akan menjejaskan kedudukan dan haknya sebagai pemilik serta penyelia sumber minyak dan gas (O&G) Malaysia seperti termaktub di bawah Akta Pembangunan Petroleum.

Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan, Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, berkata pihaknya sentiasa mengalu-alukan langkah kerajaan negeri atau mana-mana entiti milik kerajaan negeri menyertai sektor itu.

Katanya, penyertaan itu perlulah mengikut undang-undang dan mekanisme yang sudah ditetapkan bagi menjamin pembangunan sumber minyak dan gas di negara ini.

“Kami mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan kerajaan negeri (Sarawak), justeru kami sokong aspirasi mereka untuk terbabit secara aktif dalam sektor O&G di negara itu. Bahkan kami akan terus bekerjasama untuk kebaikan bersama.

“Mungkin, kerjasama kami dengan Petros akan sama seperti mana-mana kerjasama PETRONAS sebelum ini sama ada sebagai penyedia perkhidmatan atau rakan pelaburan kontrak perkongsian pengeluaran (PSC).

“Perkara ini masih dibincangkan dengan kerajaan negeri (Sarawak) dan ia memerlukan kedua-dua pihak untuk dilaksanakan,” katanya.

Mengenai sama ada beliau mengetahui permohonan royalti 20 peratus oleh PETROS, beliau berkata, PETRONAS tidak menerima permintaan berkaitan perkara itu daripada entiti baharu itu yang masih belum memiliki ketua eksekutif serta ahli lembaga pengarah.

“Berhubung isu 20 peratus royalti minyak ini, saya percaya semua pihak yang terbabit sangat memahami ia adalah satu urusan sukar.

“Untuk melakukannya di luar daripada kedudukan kita sekarang adalah terlalu sukar kerana terdapat banyak implikasi komersial yang tidak akan diingini semua pihak,” katanya.

Source: https://www.bharian.com.my/bisnes/korporat/2017/08/317523/petros-tak-gugat-kedudukan-petronas

Sarawak CM hints of plans to claim more oil, gas revenue

CHIEF Minister Abang Johari Openg has given another hint that Sarawak will muscle in to claim more revenue from oil and gas for its coffers.

“I already have ideas (on generating more income), but I cannot reveal them today,” said Abang Johari, who is also president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the second-largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, when jointly opening the PBB Women and Youth wings’ triennial delegates’ conference in Kuching today.

“We have oil, we have gas, but we only see other people benefiting from them,” he said in an apparent reference to the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), which takes away gains from the two valuable resources from the state, and the highly contentious royalty payment arrangement, where the federal government gets 95% of revenue from the state’s oil and gas.

The PDA, a law passed by Parliament, gives Petronas the sole right to the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, whether onshore or offshore, and “the entire ownership, and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges” relating to the resources.

Having already demanded that state gets an increase in royalty to 20%, Abang Johari has spoken about plans to curtail the national petroleum company’s unbridled operations in Sarawak.

They include making Petronas obtain mining permits, as the rights to issue mining leases still rest with the state under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and the formation of Petroleum Sarawak, a state oil company “to look after the interests of the state”.

Sarawak has also demanded that it gets the first right of refusal in any new development of oil and gas fields.

Abang Johari said he was “very confident” of making Sarawak a developed state by 2030.

“We have set a target. We can meet that target if our revenues are increased… so that we can better develop our cities and rural areas.”

He said this confidence was the reason why he dared disclose plans to build mega projects, like the light rail transit for Kuching and Samarahan, the building of an “internet backbone” in rural Sarawak and the building of a water grid without federal assistance.

The water grid, which involves laying a huge water main through the entire length of the state, could cost between RM7 billion and RM8 billion.

Abang Johari said when such major infrastructure was in place, “then, we can call Sarawak a developed state”.

Gerald Rentap Jabu, the son of former deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu, takes over the helm of the PBB Youth wing from Works Minister Fadillah Yusof, who has stepped down due to his age.

State Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Fatimah Abdullah has been made president of the party’s Women’s wing after Empiang Jabu, who is Gerald’s mother, stepped down after 11 years at the helm.

Both Gerald and Fatimah won uncontested. – February 9, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/37040

Bright chance of regaining seat

MIRI: Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties must go all out to recapture the Miri parliamentary seat in the coming 14th general election.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg noted the seat was once a Barisan stronghold but was lost to the opposition for the first time in 2013.

He said with all four component parties – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) – now fully recovered after being embroiled in internal conflicts, the chances of winning back the Miri parliamentary seat seemed bright.

“We must win the Miri parliamentary seat so that we can develop together for the future generation,” he said at the Chinese New Year dinner organised by SUPP Miri and Sibuti parliamentary liaison committee.

Abang Johari, who is also the state Barisan chairman, said the Miri community must think rationally during GE14 as it would determine the future of Miri as well as the development of Miri division.

“All four leaders in Sarawak Barisan component parties are Sarawakians, we will protect the state’s rights based on the constitution,” he added.

Meanwhile, Miri SUPP and Sibuti Parliamentary liaison committee chairman Datuk Lee Kim Shim said the party had formed an election committee and its election machinery was ready to move once campaigning starts.

“Together with our component parties PBB, PRS and PDP, we will make sure that we wrest the Miri parliamentary seat,” he said.

On another issue, Lee who is state Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister hoped that the state government would study the possibility of turning the Miri river from Pullman Hotel to Kampung Wireless into a waterfront that could attract tourists similar to the Kuching Waterfront.

He also appealed to the chief minister to consider making Miri City the headquarters of Sarawak-owned oil and gas company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

“Miri has been the centre of the oil and gas industry for hundreds of years.

“It is hoped that Petros will play an active role in developing the oil and gas industry in Sarawak, particularly in Miri, thereby creating more jobs and opportunities for the locals,” he added. — Bernama

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2018/02/20/bright-chance-of-regaining-seat-abang-johari-component-parties-more-united-after-being-embroiled-in/

Hats off to the Chinese

bg Jo thanks the community for being a major contributor to Sarawak’s economy, progress

Abang Johari giving his Chinese New Year message.

KUCHING: As the major players in Sarawak’s commerce and industry, the Chinese community in the state has a big role to play in the current government’s effort to strengthen the state’s economy, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the Chinese business community had always been a major contributor to commerce, trade and industry in Sarawak, and he believed that they would continue to support the government’s effort to strengthen the state’s economic position with their resources, domestic and international influence and networking.

“We are willing to listen to the needs of our business communities and take steps to increase the ease of doing business in Sarawak like doing away with red tapes and unnecessary procedures,” he said in his Chinese New Year (CNY) message yesterday.

He regarded Sarawak as a land of diversity, not only in its rich nature, but also in the culture, ways of life and beliefs of the people.

“We are always free to practise our culture, tradition and religion. We celebrate and find strength in our diversity, find common ground in our differences. That is the Sarawak that we know today – united and cohesive, that has been an example for the rest of the country to emulate,” he said.

Abang Johari pointed out that when he took over the post of Chief Minister early last year, he decided to take a different approach in building the state’s economy.

He said the state must be economically strong and able to generate more revenue to finance its development towards 2030, as yearly allocations from the federal government were insufficient to fund programmes like development of infrastructure and utilities.

“When I came to office about a year ago, I decided to take a different approach not because I want to be different. I might not get popular with it but I decided to implement policies to strengthen the state’s economy, as I believe we need to transform economically and be strong in our economic front,” he further said.

For this reason, he said Sarawak had put in place various economic initiatives to invigorate the state economy with a view to turn the state into a digital economy within the next two decades, and although the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) contribution to the national economy was the third largest because of its oil and gas, its median monthly household income of about RM4,000 was still comparatively quite low.

“Our current average GDP growth at four per cent annually is not enough to propel us to become a developed and high income economy by then. Experts said we need to average at six per cent per annum if we are to reach the target,” he said.

Among the initiatives undertaken by Abang Johari was the setting-up of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) and Sarawak oil and gas company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), to be able to be an active player in the oil and gas industry alongside Petronas within two years.

He pointed out that with the setting-up of DBOS, the state has a new financial model to finance strategic projects to expedite development in certain areas and increase domestic spending in order to generate more economic activities so that domestic consumption can be increased.

He said a bit of the state’s strong reserves should be invested instead of just keeping them in local banks.

“If we do not invest our reserves in viable and strategic economic projects, we would lose the opportunities to use it to develop our economy.

“DBOS and investments in strategic projects are expected to generate some returns and this would provide us with the means to pay back to the state reserves what we have taken out and injected into DBOS as its paid-up capital,” he further explained.

On Petros, Abang Johari stressed that contrary to scepticisms, it will not just be another Production Sharing Contract (PSC) company but one that will operate alongside Petronas and play an active part in the downstream activities of the oil and gas industry in the state.

Besides the setting-up of the methanol plant in Bintulu, the state is also expecting more investments involving Petros and the oil downstream sector, he pointed out.

He added that the state had already signed a term sheet with Petronas to buy a 10 per cent stake in LNG Train 9 in Bintulu and “we are hoping to increase our stake in LNG 3 from the current 10 per cent to 25”.

According to him, the state was also actively taking part in the oil and gas industries within the realm of our written law and the constitution.

“This is the priority of the government now while not forgetting the need to provide our rural people with better roads, schools and other amenities to upgrade the quality of life in our rural areas,” he said.

Abang Johari further said that the state government was also embarking on a programme to establish a state water grid and RM1 billion had been set aside to implement the first phase from Batang Ai to Tanjong Manis.

He said the state has so much water that should be put to good use by supplying water to the people in rural and coastal areas.

He added that the first phase will take off the ground within two years, but the remaining phases that would cover the whole state would take a much longer time to materialise.

He envisaged that some RM6 to RM7 billion would be spent on setting up the state-wide water grid which can be recouped from revenue water, saying that the spending would also have the effect of injecting more money into the local economy.

“We (state government) want this to be a holistic programme to solve our water supply problems which is sometimes ironic because we have so much water, yet some of our ‘rakyat’ are without water especially in the coastal areas,” he pointed out.

The chief minister was also confident that with a strong public spending and Digital Economy Initiatives within the next five to 10 years, the state would be able to open up its economy and generate more consumption that should boost the growth of the local economy in order to be able to achieve a growth of six per cent annually towards 2030.

Source: https://cm.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/pages.php?mod=news&sub=news_view&nid=1916

2017 The Year That Was

In memoriam: Pehin Sri Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem (Jan 27, 1944 – Jan 11, 2017).

IT was a sad beginning to 2017 for Sarawak with the untimely passing of former chief minister Pehin Sri Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem on Jan 11 — 10 days before his 73rd birthday.

Adenan was appointed the fifth chief minister of Sarawak on Feb 28, 2014.

His wife, Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, related that a few days before his death, Adenan had said he loved Sarawak and wanted the people to love and care for the state as much as he had.

Jamilah recalled her husband was cheerful in the last few hours before he breathed his last.

“He decided to take a bath and put on new clothes before asking to be seated facing the view of the forests from his room.

“He then asked Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad (his private secretary) to read to him what was going on in the state, including matters pertaining to state autonomy, particularly on education and English,” she told The Borneo Post at her residence when a team from the paper went to pay their last respects to the great man.

Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say Adenan’s last wishes — consistent with what he was doing during his tenure – shaped the direction for Sarawak in 2017 as well as moving forward.

Without any doubt, Adenan loved Sarawak.

Although he served a little less than three years, he had laid a strong foundation and set a clear direction for his successors and Sarawakians as a whole to continue with the pursuit — and eventual fulfilment — of the state’s aspirations, particularly on the reinstatement of Sarawak’s autonomous rights and its status as an equal partner in Malaysia.

Jamilah unable to contain her emotions upon receiving the state colours from Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. — Photo by Kong Jun Liung

Abang Johari sworn in as Sarawak’s sixth chief minister

Abang Johari signs a document to mark his first day at the Chief Minister’s Office, witnessed by Wan Khalik.

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was sworn in as Sarawak’s sixth chief minister on Jan 13.

Abang Johari, 66, is the youngest son of the first Head of State, the late Tun Abang Openg Sapiee and Toh Puan Hajah Masniah Abdulrahman.

Prior to his appointment as chief minister, he held three state cabinet portfolios — Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of Housing and Urbanisation, as well as Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

As chief minister, he also automatically assumes the presidency of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of the state Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. He was previously the deputy president.

The chief minister – known to many as ‘Abang Jo’ is from a prominent and influential family, and has been involved in politics since 1977.

He has held the Satok seat since 1981 and is a nine-term assemblyman for that constituency.

Abang Jo calls himself the ‘New Captain of Team Adenan’ and has vowed to follow through on the late chief minister’s programmes for the betterment of the state; albeit with ‘a little of my own style’.

“I will carry on Tok Nan’s (Adenan’s) legacy. Maybe there would be a little change because I cannot be a clone.

“Just like Tok Nan’s ‘Ooh-ha You-You’ — even if I were to emulate him, I would not be able to say it exactly like he did.

“So I will have my own approach, but the fundamental is the same. Of course, we want to improve and the emphasis is still on rural development,” he said when launching the Kuching North City Commission Agenda 2017 on Feb 6.

Abang Jo has made clear his stance on continuing Adenan’s policies, including conservation of forests, continuation of coastal highway projects, fight for state autonomy and restoration of the rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), continuous pursuit of 20 per cent oil and gas royalties, as well as maintaining of English as the second official language.

In his first year as head of the state government, Abang Jo has shown that he has the will, wisdom and vision to take Sarawak to the next level of development and progress.

In the political arena, he cleared his first hurdle as chief minister, PBB president and leader of the state BN in the Tanjong Datu by-election, which was called following Adenan’s passing.

In a three-cornered fight, BN candidate Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu — Adenan’s widow — won a landslide victory with a thumping 6,443-vote majority.

Act 355

The state also adopted a firm stance by rejecting the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – commonly known as Act 355.

“What we suggest is to look at it judiciously. We fear there are discriminatory elements. This is syariah law, nothing to do with hudud. But the only thing we are concerned about is the penalty.

“For example, if I were caught stealing with another friend, who is a non-Muslim, and I am a Muslim. The penalty for me could be higher than his in the syariah court.

“But under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, everybody is equal in the eyes of the law,” he explained at a press conference on March 18.

“So, there must be no discriminatory penalty because we are all equal. He’s Malaysian and I am Malaysian. And though he’s a non-Muslim and

I am a Muslim, the penalty must be equal.”

Abang Jo’s unequivocal stance on the issue, coupled with opposition from the other state BN component parties to the bill, contributed to it being dropped as a government bill.

Launch of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS)

Abang Johari (third right) unveils the DBOS logo, witnessed by (from right) Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Uggah, former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh. — Photo by Chimon Upon

The DBOS was officially launched on Nov 3 to ensure continued balance between the state’s investments and savings in the effort to speed up development.

“Economists know if we don’t use our reserves to invest, it is also costs called opportunity costs — meaning costs of lost opportunities because we did nothing to our money.

“Opportunity costs do not appear in the account books but it’s important in the decision-making process. What I mean is there is a need to ensure a balance between our reserves and investments without depleting our reserves. This is the primary role the Development Bank of Sarawak,” Abang Jo said at the official launching of DBOS.

Research on MA63

A team of lawyers travelled to London to search for studies and references related to the state’s rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Abang Jo said this was a sequel to Adenan’s efforts to regain state rights as embodied in MA63.

“This agreement (MA63) is not simply an agreement — we want to get the facts right because if we want to make a claim, we must do our homework; otherwise, we are just shooting at the target without hitting it,” he pointed out.

While in London, the research team found documents on the ‘Continental Shelf’, confirming the ownership rights of the state to the natural resources on the seabed and in the subsoil of the Continental Shelf within the boundaries of Sarawak as defined in the ‘Order in Council’.

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who led the team to London, said these were among the findings they had come across through research and study of the documents, which originated from Sarawak before Sept 16, 1963, but were classified by the Colonial Administration as ‘secret’ and ‘confidential’.

“These documents form what’s termed as the ‘Migrated Archives’ — those that have been declassified by UK government and stored in the British National Archives.

“The documents were no longer in the custody of the state government after Sept 16, 1963,” she said in a press statement on Aug 9 after the research team had briefed the chief minister on their findings.

Additionally, Sharifah Hasidah said they had obtained British Government Cabinet Papers relating to the Cobbold Commission’s Report and its views on granting Sarawak’s independence with regard to the formation of the new Federation of Malaysia — apart from documents

on the formation of Malaysia, including minutes of meetings of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC), leading to the publication of the IGC Report.

“Copies of these documents have been obtained by the team from the British National Archives and the Commonwealth Library and Archive at Marlborough House in London.

“The government is studying them to ascertain the basis for the recommendations contained in the IGC Report regarding the constitutional safeguards for Sarawak and what further actions that need to be taken in order to have them fully implemented under Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement — if they have not already been incorporated in the Federal Constitution or by executive, legislative or other action since Sept 16, 1963.”

Sharifah Hasidah also said the documents, obtained by the team, would add strength to the state’s position in discussions with federal government on devolution of powers (DOP) and towards resolution of various constitutional matters under deliberation in these discussions.

NCR Land

The Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issue continues to be a much-debated topic, and the state government has pledged to continue to assist in resolving it.

A special taskforce, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, was set up to address the various issues affecting NCR land status such as ‘pulau galau’ (forest reserves) and ‘pemakai menoa’ (territorial / communal domain), which the Federal Court has ruled as having ‘no force of law’.

On Nov 13, some 1,000 people gathered at the Old Courthouse near Kuching Waterfront for a peaceful NCR land rally, aimed at creating public awareness of the frustration of the natives of Sarawak over the alleged exploitation of their native land.

Local opposition pact formalised

DAP Sarawak, PKR Sarawak and Amanah Sarawak officially formed a coalition called Pakatan Harapan Sarawak to take on BN in all the 31 parliamentary seats across the state in the 14th general election (GE14).

In a joint press statement, DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen, PKR Sarawak chairman Baru Bian and Amanah Sarawak chairman Fidzuan Zaidi also disclosed that they had concluded seat allocation negotiations among the three parties for GE14.

ICT quantum leap

The Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) was launched on Dec 13 with the unveiling of the first version of the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy Book 2018-2022, heralding the digitalisation transformation of the state to be at the forefront of the digital world.

SMA, as the lead authority for Sarawak’s digital economy transformation, would oversee and regulate the state’s digital strategies and initiatives.

“2030 is the year we want Sarawak to be a developed state in Malaysia with a high-income economy. There must not be any rural and urban divide by then; hence digital connectivity is important,” Abang Jo said at the launch ceremony.

Sarawak’s O&G company Petros

The chief minister announced the appointment of Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr Hamid Bugo as chairman of the newly-formed Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) on Aug 25.

Hamid is a former state secretary and has worked with Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd in Bintulu.

The board members are Dato Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Sharbini Suhaili, Zuraimi Sabki and Heng Hock Cheng.

The primary object of setting up Petros is to enable Sarawak to participate in upstream oil and gas development, particularly the exploration and extraction of oil and gas within Sarawak’s waters.

This initiative is in line with the state’s aspiration to create better job opportunities for local talents and to attract Sarawak talents and expertise currently serving outside the state.

DUN revokes Dr Ting’s status

Dr Ting speaks to reporters outside the court in Kuching.

On May 12, the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) resolved to disqualify Dr Ting Tiong Choon (DAP-Pujut) as an elected representative over the issue of his purported dual citizenship.

This followed an overwhelming 70 votes from BN assemblymen in favour of a ministerial motion to the effect, tabled by Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Dr Ting sunsequently filed an Originating Summons in the High Court on June 7 to challenge the decision.

The High Court overturned the ministerial motion and reinstated Dr Ting. An appeal by the government is pending.

Continuing the legacy

Sarawak is helmed by a seasoned and experienced politician who has embarked on a series of transformation initiatives, despite being in the office for less than one year.

Abang Jo’s repeated assurances that Adenan’s key achievements would serve as a strong impetus for the government to propel Sarawak to greater heights, should motivate and inspire the state to move forward and face the future with confidence.

Abang Jo will no doubt continue to administer the state with foresight and judiciousness to ensure continued development, progress and prosperity for the people in this ‘Fair Land Sarawak’.

Source: http://www.cm.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/pages.php?mod=news&sub=news_view&nid=1827

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