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

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

Malaysia’s debt profile can mitigate currency, interest rate shocks

MALAYSIA’s debt profile, mainly funded by the ringgit, acts as mitigation against currency or interest rate shocks.

Moody’s Investors Service sovereign risk group assistant vice-president Anushka Shah said the debt profile factored in Malaysia’s A3 rating.

“The rating is underpinned by strong growth, large and diverse economic structure and ample natural resources. Malaysia is also one of the fastest-growing A-rated sovereigns,” she said at Moody’s Media Roundtable: Inside Asean – Spotlight on Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, today.

However, Anushka said, there were concerns Malaysia’s government debt to gross domestic product of about 51% was higher than the 41% median of other A-rated sovereigns. 

“Other concerns include the declining growth rate of the working-age population and downside global risks such as trade protectionism,.

Anushka said Malaysia’s large buffer of foreign-exchange reserves could also mitigate external vulnerabilities.

“The government is maintaining its fiscal deficit reduction stance and committed to a reform policy agenda,” she said.

On the impact of 1Malaysia Development Bhd debts on the country’s rating, she said, the current probability of debt crystallisation from 1MDB was low and was not viewed as a risk to Malaysia’s fiscal position.

Meanwhile, on Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) starting oil and gas (O&G) exploration this year, Moody’s vice-president Vikas Halan said it was too early to quantify the impact.

“We do not how this will pan out but we see that Petronas won’t be much impacted. It is too early to say but our base case is no change in legal status of Petronas as the exclusive explorer and owner of the (oil) resources,” he said. 

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg recently said Petros would kickoff its exploration activities in Miri this year after the state assumed full regulatory control over both upstream and downstream O&G activities. 

“For us, it is wait and see (the impact). Moving forward, all exploration will come under this company but nothing that Petronas is producing will go away,” said Vikas, adding that, it would be better to have an open industry. – Bernama, March 21, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/44310

PKR wants assembly to discuss Sarawak’s oil and gas rights

PKR Sarawak vice-chairman and Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How wants the state assembly sitting to discuss the state’s oil and gas rights.

See said the special assembly sitting would make clear Sarawak’s collective stance with regard to three controversial laws – the Territorial Sea Act 2012, the Petroleum Development Act 1974, and the Tripartite Agreement signed between the federal government, state government and Petronas – that the chief minister had dismissed as “irrelevant”.

See said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg’s many statements on the invalidity of the TSA, PDA and the agreement since the March 6 launching of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) “make it sounds so simplistic”.

At the launch of Petros, the chief minister said the state had regained all the rights to its resources and that any person and company wishing to do business in the state’s 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.

In a media conference two days later, Abang Johari said the TSA and PDA were “irrelevant” as they had violated Sarawak’s rights to its natural and hydrocarbon resources under the federal constitution. “any law that is ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the constitution under Article 4 of the federal constitution is void,” he said.

The chief minister had also asserted the state’s rights to its oil and gas were never surrendered upon the formation of Malaysia in 1963 and therefore the issuance of permits and licences for mines, mining leases and certificates in relation to the prospecting, mining and development of our petroleum resources were still intact.

The issuance of permits and licences were drawn up during the rule of the White Rajah and were later incorporated under Item 2(c) of the state list under the ninth schedule of the federal constitution.

“The chief minister had evoked a lively debate with his unequivocal announcement that Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over its oil and gas upstream and downstream industry by July, at the launching of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) on March 6.

“Elected representatives, aspirants vying for offices in the coming general election, academicians and political analysts have raised some legal but mostly political arguments in the tussle which by far have been entertaining and enlightening,” said See.

But he said it is the duty of the state leaders to protect the interests of Sarawak’s prized resources true to the spirit of “Sarawak First” and “Sarawakians First”.

“The special sitting of the Sarawak legislative assembly will provide a platform for the differing legal and political opinions, propositions and solutions to be deliberated, considered and adopted in order that Sarawak may speak and present itself with one unified voice.”

He said it would not be similar to the legislature’s motion on the request for 20% petroleum royalty, which was unanimously passed on May 7, 2014.

See said the chief minister is doing right to take a step further to pursue and assert the state’s autonomous rights over the valuable resources of oil and gas lying within the territorial boundary of Sarawak.

“I’m all for getting these things back but they should not be decided by himself or his cabinet.

“They must be brought to the assembly for a consensus.”

See also said the silence of Prime Minister Najib Razak and federal leaders “to Sarawak’s quest which is moving the earth under Sarawakians’ feet” was disconcerting.

“They are calm and relaxed, as if giving a nonchalant shrug, dismissing the expedition of the charging knights as a futile exercise.

“I am uneasy, and expecting the worst to come after the general election, as I think the stance of the federal government can be deciphered from the response of Petronas,” he said.

In a short statement to welcome and congratulate the setting up of Petros, Petronas said it was committed to supporting the state’s aspirations to actively participate in the state’s oil and gas industry “in line with the current framework of the Petroleum Development Act, 1974”.

“Despite what the chief minister and all other Sarawakians have said, Petronas is cool, referring us to look at the framework of the Petroleum Development Act, 1974.” – March 27, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/45349

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

No more business as usual by July, Sarawak CM tells Petronas

SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has told Petronas it cannot operate as usual from July, adding that the national oil company has not done enough to develop the country’s largest state.

His remarks, carried by satellite TV operator Astro tonight, underscore the state’s move to be independent of Putrajaya ahead of the 14th general election, widely expected to be called next month.

“Petronas must acknowledge the fact that it is our right for them to align with our laws,” the chief minister said in an interview on Astro Awani.

Last night, the chief minister, at the launch of the state-owned Sarawak Petroleum Bhd (Petros), said by July, Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state, and that all individuals and companies wishing to do business in the industry, including Petronas, must have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals from the state government.

The legal requirements are from either the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 or Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016.

Prior to this, Petronas, vested with the powers under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), dictated all aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state.

Petronas negotiated and awarded all the power-sharing contracts and its contractors.

Abang Johari said under the new operating condition, as Sarawak exercises its constitutional rights over the two resources, some Petronas decisions are also no longer for the company to make alone.

He gave the appointment of contractors as an example.

“They can’t appoint their contractors themselves. They must get their contractors and sub-contractors who are registered with us,” he said, referring to the new legal requirement for oil and gas companies to have licences, permits, leases and approvals from the state government.

Abang Johari said Sarawak never had a say in the appointment of contractors before.

“We don’t have a say especially in the question of the participation of our private sector.”

He said while the national petroleum company has posted billion of ringgits in profits, it is not doing enough to channel some of the money to develop the state.

“The understanding (for the PDA) was that, Petronas would use part of its revenue to develop the state. Over the years, you can see what has happened.

“Petronas has got lots of revenue, but our perception is that they concentrated their projects in the peninsula, while the state is struggling to get money to develop basic infrastructure.

“Fair enough, it has to be shared throughout the country, but there must be the equitable allocation of resources to Sarawak.”

He said Sarawakians can also see and think.

“Sarawakians are looking at the Twin Towers, and Sarawakians are also looking at all the bailouts of the federal government… and we can think that part of the money comes from Petronas.”

He said Petronas is not doing enough to help develop the state.

“Yes, they have their plant in Bintulu. That is their investment, and we have a certain equity.

“But what must be done is, there must be equitable jobs to be given to Sarawak companies.”

Despite the warning of change, Petronas said the company “is committed to supporting Sarawak’s aspirations to actively participate in the state’s oil and gas industry, in line with the current framework of the PDA”.

In offering its congratulations to the Sarawak government over the launch of Petros, and welcoming the participation of the state petroleum company in the oil and gas sector, Petronas said it is looking forward “to continue collaborating with the state for mutual benefit”. – March 7, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/41654

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

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”.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/87307

Sabah politicians to intervene in Petronas suit

SABAH politicians are eager to intervene in Petronas’ suit to lay exclusive claim on the country’s petroleum resources and to be the regulator of the upstream industry.

Sabah, a petroleum-rich state, stands to lose its rights if the national oil company wins in its suit, said Sabah Star president Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said that while Petronas was relying on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 as the point of its argument, this law was in fact “unconstitutional”.

“The act goes against the federal constitution, which accords the rights of natural resources to the respective states.

“If the state government does not act, Sabah stands to lose all its rights on the oil if Petronas wins its suit,” he said during the Double Six Commemoration in Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu, today.

Petronas earlier this week filed an application before the Federal Court seeking a declaration that it is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources in Malaysia, including in Sarawak.

It is also seeking the apex court’s declaration that it is the regulator for the upstream industry throughout the country.

The hearing will be on June 12 in at the court in Putrajaya.

The move comes as Sarawak prepares to assume full regulatory authority over upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state from next month through Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), a state-owned oil and gas exploration firm formed last year and officially launched in March.

Jeffrey said Gabungan Sabah aims to raise funds to engage lawyers to challenge Petronas’ bid.

He said that the state’s citizens, as stakeholders of Sabah’s natural resources, could take action if the state government did not.

Sabah Progressive Party president Yong Teck Lee said a team of lawyers were already working on building a case against Petronas. – June 6, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/52969

Sarawak to implement regulatory rights on oil, gas beginning July 1

BEGINNING July 1, Sarawak will implement regulatory rights on oil and gas activities in the state, said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

He said this following the federal court’s dismissal of Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) application for leave to commence proceedings against the Sarawak government’s move to regulate the state’s petroleum activities.

Abang Johari said the state government’s move was in accordance with the law stipulated in the federal constitution.

“This means that some of the powers under the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 will be implemented by Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Bhd),” he said.

Yesterday, Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Maarop dismissed Petronas’ application after deciding that the federal court could not hear the matter, as the declaratory relief sought by the national oil company was not covered under the jurisdiction of the federal court, but the high court.

Abang Johari said only the Sarawak government had the rights to regulate the oil and gas activities from the point of law as stipulated in the federal constitution.

When asked if Petronas needed to apply for a permit or permission from Sarawak to be involved in oil and gas activities in the state hereafter, he replied: “What is happening now is that we have the state law that Petronas must abide to.”

Sarawak would not create a difficult environment with abnormal conditions for the oil and gas industry in the state, and would ensure that it continued to run smoothly, he said.

Abang Johari said Sarawak’s next state legislative assembly sitting would table the bill to amend OMO 1958, as some of the matters in the ordinance were no longer relevant with the current situation. – Bernama, June 23, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/56436

Latest Articles