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.