TheMalaysianInsight.com

Sarawak BN must fight for Miri, says Abang Johari

SARAWAK’S Barisan Nasional (BN) components must go all out to recapture the Miri parliamentary seat, a former BN stronghold that was lost to the opposition in 2013, in the coming 14th General Election (GE14).

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said with all four BN 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 from their embroilment in internal conflicts, chances of winning back the Miri parliamentary seat seemed bright.

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

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

“All four leaders in Sarawak’s BN component parties are Sarawakian. We will protect the state rights based on the constitution,” he said.

SUPP Miri and Sibuti parliamentary liaison committee chairman Lee Kim Shim said SUPP had formed an election committee for GE14, with election machinery ready to move once the campaigning started.

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

On another issue, Lee, who is state assistant minister for tourism, arts and culture, hoped that the state government would study the possibility of turning the Miri River winding from Pullman Hotel to Kampung Wireless to be turned 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 Berhad (Petros).

“Miri has been the centre of the oil and gas industry for over 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, creating more jobs and opportunities,” he said. – Bernama, February 19, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/38641

No ultimatum to Petronas, says Sarawak CM

THE Sarawak chief minister’s office has denied a posting on social media that cited Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg purportedly giving an ultimatum to Petronas.

“The office wishes to clarify that the chief minister has never issued such (an) ultimatum to Petronas though the onus is on Petronas to comply with the state law like any other companies with prospecting and mining interest in Sarawak.

“(The chief minister) has always stressed that Sarawak will work alongside Petronas through its newly-formed oil company, Petros in the oil and gas industry in Sarawak within the ambit of the law and constitution. The fake news is very much regretted,” it said in a statement today.

According to the widely circulated posting titled “Ultimatum to Petronas, Get Licence or Get Out”, the chief minister purportedly issued an ultimatum to Petronas that it must obtain a prospecting licence under the Sarawak Mining Ordinance 1958 to operate in Sarawak. – Bernama, February 15, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/38033

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

Not true that Sarawak has reclaimed oil and gas rights, says opposition

SARAWAK opposition leaders have challenged the chief minister’s statement that the state has reclaimed its oil and gas rights, saying federal laws ensure the resources remain in Putrajaya’s hands.

They said the state cannot regain the rights when laws like the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) and Tripartite Agreement, signed by the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas, have not been repealed or rescinded.

“How can we assert those rights that are constrained and/or no longer in our hands?” said state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How, in response to Abang Johari Openg’s statement at the launch of state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd in Kuching on Tuesday.

The PDA vests in Petronas the entire ownership of, and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges to, the exploration and exploitation of the country’s petroleum resources, both onshore and offshore.

The law gives the national petroleum company complete control in carrying out downstream activities and developments relating to petroleum and related products.

See said the PDA “has completely taken away all our rights, power and privileges over the petroleum resources deposited and found within the territorial boundary of Sarawak”.

The TSA limits the state’s sea boundary and territorial jurisdiction to a mere three nautical miles offshore.

Sarawakians have longed accused the federal government of passing the law to plunder the state’s offshore oil and gas resources by limiting the state’s control to the exploration, exploitation and obtaining of all resources found in Sarawak’s territorial sea, which should have been extended up to 300 nautical miles.

The Tripartite Agreement is purportedly “to irrevocably grant in perpetuity, and convey to and vest in Petronas” Sarawak’s ownership, and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting and obtaining petroleum onshore or offshore.

See, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said the chief minister “appears to be overly excited and exceedingly optimistic about the indefinite and ambiguous assurance of the prime minister (to return state rights)”, while state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen described Abang Johari’s announcement as “much ado about nothing”.

See said the chief minister has “gone overboard with an announcement that may not materialise”.

“With his eyes trained on the next general election, the assurance by the prime minister was vague, and clearly uttered to placate Sarawakians and Sabahans.

“The insincerity of Putrajaya is evidenced by the fact that, until today, the prime minister has yet to get back to Sarawak on the reference made to his office by our late former chief minister, Adenan Satem, to repeal or amend the TSA in 2016.”

He said there has been no progress on the devolution of powers to Sarawak since Adenan died.

“To assert our sovereign power and rights to the issuance of permits and licences for mines, mining leases and certificates under Item 2(c) of the State List under the Ninth Schedule of the federal constitution, in this case, the prospecting, mining and development of our petroleum resources, the federal government must first agree to repeal the TSA and PDA, or make amendments to their provisions, and the Tripartite Agreement signed between the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas must be rescinded.

“The chief minister must first obtain the assurance and undertaking of the prime minister to repeal the TSA and PDA, and to rescind the Tripartite Agreement, before he can make the announcement that we are now able to exercise our jurisdiction under our Oil Mining Ordinance, with regard to the licensing of oil and gas exploration, exploitation and development.

“Unless all these laws and legal provisions are repealed or amended, to devolve or vest powers back to Sarawak, we are, in effect, powerless.”

See said the announcement by Abang Johari that Sarawak is now able to exercise administrative and regulatory control over all petroleum-related activities in the state is “superficial at best”.

Chong said Sarawak’s entitlement to oil and gas royalties remains a meagre 5%.

The state Pakatan Harapan chairman and Bandar Kuching MP said unless the provisions of the PDA are amended or repealed, whatever laws or regulations passed by the state assembly or set by the state government “will become redundant and ineffective”.

He said the chief minister’s announcement was just another one of his “hot air” stunts, “trying to fool Sarawakians into believing that there is the devolution of powers, when the main control over, and benefits of, oil and gas remain with the federal government”.

“Barisan Nasional has taken Sarawakians for a ride for the past 55 years, and with this perceived devolution of powers, it intends to continue taking Sarawakians for another ride for another 50 years.”

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru president Cobbold John questioned how the state could reclaim its oil and gas rights if “Petronas is being allowed to operate as usual”.

He accused Abang Johari of manipulating the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and state rights for political benefits.

“These two laws (the PDA and TSA) need to be amended. Only then can the state assert its constitutional power.”

DAP’s pick for the Stampin federal seat in the 14th general election, Kelvin Yii, said Abang Johari’s announcement “seems to be purposefully orchestrated to mislead the public with regard to the control of our oil and gas resources”.

“Unless there is a repeal or amendment of the PDA, the oil still belongs to the federal government under Petronas, and we are entitled to only a 5% oil royalty.”

The chief minister, in an interview with TV station Astro Awani this morning, said the state’s right to its oil and gas is guaranteed under the federal constitution.

He said even though Item 8(j) under the Ninth Schedule of the constitution grants to the federal government the development of mineral resources, mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores, oils and oilfields; purchase, sale, import and export of minerals and mineral ores, and petroleum products; and, regulation of labour and safety in mines and oilfields, there is a condition.

The condition is that, all those rights are subject to Item 2(c) in the State List, where permits and licences for the prospecting of mines, mining leases and certificates are the rights of the state.

When asked about the PDA and TSA, Abang Johari said under Article 4 of the federal constitution, laws that are inconsistent with the constitution are void.

On the TSA, he said: “Our boundary when we formed Malaysia was 12 nautical miles. It is still 12 nautical miles. It cannot be changed under Article 2 of the federal constitution unless it is agreed to by the state legislative assembly and the Conference of Rulers.”

The state legislative assembly has never agreed to the change. – March 7, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/41638

Petroleum Sarawak signs up for Petrotel’s expertise in oil and gas

STATE-OWNED fledgling oil and gas company, Petroleum Sarawak (Petros) has taken its first step into the business with the signing a memorandum of understanding with Petrotel Energy Oman LLC “to explore the possibility of co-operation to develop the downstream sector of oil and gas industries in Sarawak”.

International oil and gas company “with links to Sarawak”, South Sea Energy (SSE), is also a signatory to the MoU.

The signing in Muscat, Oman today was witnessed by Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

Chairman Hamid Bugo and board member Zuraimi Sabki signed for Petronas, president Lily Chin and executive director Tiong Kiong King for SSE, and chief executive Dr Anil Chopra and chief operating officer Mike Lucich for Petrotel.

The chief minister, who is on a working visit to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, had earlier witnessed the signing of an MOU between Petrotel and SSE on exploration and production rights in the Arab country.

Petrotel is described on its website as “a leader in oil and gas technology in all aspects of exploration and production with worldwide experience” which has worked on “more than 300 fields worldwide in over 30 countries”.

The Sarawak chief minister and his delegation, which included Deputy Chief Minister and Second Minister of Natural Resources Awang Tengah Ali Hasssn, State Secretary Mohammad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Sarawak Energy chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili, arrived in the Omani capital yesterday.

Later yesterday evening, the chief minister and his entourage were shown an overview of the prospects and possibilities of cooperation in the oil and gas sector in the sultanate by SSE.

On Monday, while in the oil refining town of Miri, Abang Johari said Petros would be an active player in the oil and gas industry in two years.

The company was formed in August last year to look after the state’s interest in oil and gas discovered and mined in Sarawak.

Petros is still on a head hunt for a chief executive officer. – January 17, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/33006

Sarawak still guarded in giving details of oil and gas talks

SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg today provided some insight into the highly secretive negotiations between state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) and Petronas over the latter’s new role in the state’s oil and gas industry.

He also touched upon the terms of the new resource-sharing agreement, following the state’s decision to fully enforce its Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO).

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/102569

Group wants Sarawak to end oil, gas talks with Petronas

THE Sarawak government must end the ongoing talks between state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd and Petronas over a new oil and gas sharing deal.

State rights group Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (Sapa), said the state government must stand up to its rights over oil and gas in the state.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/99118

Abang Jo does not understand the law, says DAP

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.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/42036

Sarawak CM must resolve oil, territorial disputes through the court, says DAP

WHILE there are valid considerations the Petroleum Development Act and the Territorial Sea Act have contravened the Federal Constitution, there was no legal basis for Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg to declare they are not applicable in Sarawak.

Abang Johari, at the launch of the state-owned Sarawak Petroleum Bhd (Petros) on Wednesday, said Sarawak would assume full regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry in the state by July. 

He also claimed oil companies wishing to do business, including Petronas, must have the necessary approvals from the state government.

The chief minister was echoing statements on Monday the state has reclaimed its oil and gas rights, saying federal laws ensure the resources remain in Putrajaya’s hands.

Sarawak DAP women bureau affairs chief Irene Chang said laws Abang Johari’s claimed had no force such as the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) and Tripartite Agreement, signed by the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas, have not been repealed or rescinded.

“To declare these two legislations as null and void and therefore have no application in Sarawak, the chief minister has to bring the matter before the courts of law. 

“Until the courts declare as such, the acts are in force and applicable in Sarawak,” Chang said. 

“To say otherwise is to give people false hope and the state government owes it to the people to set the matter right,” said the Bukit Assek assemblyman.

PDA gives Petronas exclusive ownership right to the oil and gas resources in Malaysia, and makes it the main regulatory body for upstream oil and gas activities. 

Under TSA, Sabah and Sarawak could not exert its sovereignty beyond 3-nautical miles from its shores, short of the 12-nautical mile limit on other coastal states. 

Chang urged Abang Johari to lead the state’s legislators to pass a motion to review the two acts and to get a court order to declare them null and void.

She added the state government might even have a legal argument to demand for the return of all the revenues earned from the resources from 1974 until now.

“Petros and Development Bank of Sarawak, although impressive and would create jobs, but whatever oil and gas that may be exploited in our waters, still need to go back to Petronas. 

“We are entitled to only 5% of the royalty,” she said. 

Chang said if the courts declared the two acts null and void and ultra vires to the Federal Constitution, then the Sarawak Barisan Nasional government needs to “apologise to the people of Sarawak.”

“It is time for the state gvernment to come clean and admit they allowed daylight robbery to be committed for the past 44 years. They need to prove their sincerity in claiming back what rightfully belongs to Sarawak. 

“Has the state BN government the political will to stand up to the prime minister and the federal government?

“Have they got the political courage to go up to their masters since they believe the acts are not applicable, Petronas should immediately cease operation in Sarawak waters?”

On March 2, Petronas announced profit of RM23.8 billion in 2016 and RM45.5 billion in 2017. – March 10, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/42196

Sarawak eases push for 20% oil and gas royalty

SARAWAK Housing Minister Dr Sim Kui Hian today said the state has eased on its push for a 20% increase – from the current 5% – of the oil and gas royalty.

It would instead focus on getting state petroleum company Petros, off the ground and the potential revenue it could generate.

“We are no longer talking about oil royalty,” the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president said while speaking to reporters at the party’s Chinese New Year open house in Kuching.

Echoing Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg’s earlier statement that the rights to prospect and mine for all mineral and natural resources in Sarawak, including oil and gas, are rights of the state as spelt out in the federal constitution, Dr Sim also reiterated “all the oil (and gas in the state) belongs to Sarawak”.

“What is ours, is ours. Its in the constitution,” he said in reference to the chief minister’s statement in a live interview over TV1 on Tuesday.

Abang Johari, in explaining why Petronas must obtain a prospecting license if it were to operate in the state, said while the federal constitution stipulates that the development of mineral resources falls under federal purview, it is however subject to item 2(c) of the state list when it comes to Sarawak.

According to item 2(c), permits and licences for prospecting for mines, mining leases and certificates are state matters.

The needs for the state permits and certificates are under the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958.

“This means the state has the power to prospect and mine for oil and gas in the state just like Petronas,” the chief minister said.

“If Petronas wants to prospect for oil and gas in the state, they are subject to item 2(c) of the federal constitution and the licence must be issued by the state.

“I (only) work within the perimeters of the law and the federal constitution is supreme law.”

In his Chinese New Year message, the chief minister made it clear Petros will not “just be another production sharing contract company (PSC) but one that will operate alongside Petronas and play an active part in the downstream activities of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak”.

Abang Johari said Petros be an active player in the oil and gas industry alongside Petronas within two years.

With the prospect of a higher revenue Petros could potentially generate from newly discovered gas fields and re-exploiting old oil fields with new technologies, Dr Sim took a swipe at Harapan’s New Deal manifesto for Sarawak and Sabah and the promise to give Sarawak and Sarawak the 20% royalty as demanded.

“They (Harapan) only want to give us 20%. DAP wants to kongsi (share) Sarawak’s resources.

“Petros is just a beginning. The best is yet to come,” the cardiologist turned politician said. – February 16, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/38221