KUCHING: The Sarawak government does not have to file a case in the High Court to reclaim its rights over oil and gas in the state, said Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He pointed out that this is because Sarawak has its own special law that’s applicable in the state, namely the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO).
“We have always felt that the OMO can still be used. But on the other side, Petronas feels that the OMO has already been repealed when the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 was introduced.
“So, why should we be the one to bring the matter to court when the aggrieved party, those who feel that the OMO is not applicable is Petronas?” he questioned when asked to comment on whether the Sarawak government should file a case in the High Court if it is serious about reclaiming its rights over oil and gas in Sarawak.
Speaking to reporters at his Hari Raya open house in Penview Convention Centre (PCC) here yesterday, Abdul Karim, a lawyer by profession, believed that the national oil and gas company is now feeling the pressure in view that come July 1, it would have to conform to the state’s new regulation requiring it to obtain a permit from Sarawak’s oil and gas company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) if it wants to undertake upstream oil and gas activities in the state.
“Petronas has always felt that they are the exclusive owner of all oil and gas in Malaysia whether in Sabah, Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia.
“But as far as Sarawak is concerned, the law is there because we have already established that beginning July 1, any company which is undertaking upstream oil and gas activities in the state must register with the state government and have the requisite licences, permits and approvals,” he explained.
He also stressed that the Sarawak government will not compromise and will take the necessary actions if Petronas or any oil and gas companies operating in the state do not comply with the new rules.
“If Petronas does so, they will be contravening our law. It’s just like driving a car without a licence, which is an offence. So, if you are committing an offence, then there will be penalty,” he warned.
Abdul Karim and his wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar welcomed visitors from all walks of life to their Hari Raya open house which is held for the first time at PCC this year.
Among the notable guests were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, and State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar.