SIBU: The recent press statement from Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is described as a strongly-worded statement that is both arrogant and insensitive.
In the statement, Petronas maintains its claim over Sarawak’s oil and gas resources; that it has exclusive ownership of the petroleum resources in Malaysia, and that it is the sole regulator of the upstream sector in the country.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youths and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the statement did not bode well with Sarawak and its people, and wondered if this was a new form of colonisation.
“Here we have a company telling the largest region in Malaysia that its oil and resources are exclusively owned by them, and only them are the sole regulator of its upstream business.
“Petronas that has grown into a global corporate entity from Sarawak’s resources, has got big headed and biting back the hands that feed it all these years,” he said.
Petronas issued the press statement in response to the press statement of the Chief Minister’s Office on July 1 which stated Sarawak’s intent to exercise its power under the relevant Sarawak laws relating to oil and gas activities in Sarawak.
All companies including their contractors, sub-contractors and vendors in the oil and gas industry have to apply for licences from the Sarawak government in order to operate in Sarawak effective July 1. They are required to do so under the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, and other regulations.
The OMO stipulates that all oil and gas industry players in Sarawak, including Petronas, should comply with it. Legal and appropriate action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the Ordinance, and this should include the upstream activities carried out by Petronas.
Application for licences must be made in a form prescribed in OMO and submitted to the Sarawak Minerals and Management Authority (SMMA) through Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has emphasised the necessity of enforcing OMO because the rights enabling oil and gas industry players to operate in Sarawak belong to the Sarawak government.