Sarawak government should reinstate Sarawak ownership of oil and gas in Court instead of merely claiming the 5% SST.
Sarawak People’s Protest
Sarawak people are upset by Sarawak Chief Minister openly endorsing MA63 and PDA1974 validity (The Borneo Post "Sarawak and Petronas resolve dispute over SST, oil company to pay up" May 8 2020) and such open endorsement perceived by Sarawak people as doing the maximum damages to Sarawak rights and sovereignty flavoring Federal Government and PETRONAS. Sarawak people having the opinion Sarawak government should reinstate Sarawak ownership of oil and gas in Court instead of merely claiming the 5% SST.
Validity of Malaysia Agreement 1963
Patriotic Sarawakian have stated that during the process of recruiting Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners to form Malaysia in 1963 there was never full referendum to determine the wishes of Sarawak people.
Interviewing merely a few thousand Sarawak citizens by Cobbold Commission to conveniently conclude Sarawak people agreed to join and form Malaysia showing it was done in a hurry without obtaining accurate opinion of Sarawak people, not forgetting there were mass street protests and shops closed in protest against formation of Malaysia.
During signing of Malaysia Agreement 1963, Sarawak and Sabah were colonies of Britain while Federation of Malaya was already an independence country as such two colonies of Britain were in no position to sign Malaysia Agreement 1963 with an independent country known as Federation of Malaya. Therefore the above dubious situation has cast doubt on validity of Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Malaysia formation.
Validity of Petroleum Development Act 1974
Since 1974, PETRONAS has been claiming ownership of Malaysia oil and gas based on the infamous Petroleum Development Act 1974 without giving much back to petroleum and gas producing states and territories. It is a known fact that daily production is 850,000 tons of petroleum taken from Sarawak (New Straits Times, August 18, 2017, Petronas' Sarawak o&g fields generate average of 850,000 barrels of oil) . The huge wealth extracted by PETRONAS is believed to have been used to fill federal government coffer as well as shared among ruling parties politicians while oil and gas producing states and territories remain poor and undeveloped without basic and proper infrastructure.
Some Sarawak assemblymen (ADUN) all this while have been arguing Petroleum Development Act 1974 is not applicable in Sarawak as it has never been endorsed in State Assembly (DUN) despite Ex-Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bin Ya’Kub signed the Petroleum Development Act 1974. And there is no record to indicate that Dun had ever discussed the matter and authorized Ex-Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bin Ya’Kub to sign on behalf of Sarawak government the infamous Petroleum Development Act 1974.
Another important fact has been overlooked all this while is that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 is a “faulty” document. By a closer look on page 12 of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 bearing the then Sarawak Chief Minister signature, one will notice the part that mentioned “lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia” and it is never mentioned as “lying onshore or offshore of Sarawak” as such the document cannot be a valid document because Sarawak Chief Minister could not sign on behalf of the rest of Malaysia partners namely Sabah, Sarawak and Federation of Malaya. It could be a legal and valid document if the same document was jointly and severally signed by then Sabah Chief Minister, the then Sarawak Chief Minister and then Chief Ministers or Mentri Besar of oil and gas producing states and territories. Without these additional signatures and without Sabah and other oil and gas producing states jointly “grant in perpetuity and convey to and vest in PETRONAS the ownership in and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia” the document is invalid and faulty. As such Sarawak’s oil and gas ownership/rights are still intact.
Course of Action
Despite the flaw, Petroleum Development 1974 (PDA 1974) had been made into law in parliament therefore It needs to be repealed, or challenged in Court to render it null and void. It is time for Sarawak government to prove to Sarawakians it is indeed protecting Sarawak’s interest, sovereignty, autonomy and resources by taking the bold move to repeal, or challenge in Court to render PDA1974 null and void.