KUCHING: State Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has advised the state government to file a case in the High Court if it is serious about reclaiming its rights over oil and gas in the state.
He said this is to ensure that the sole authority of upstream oil and gas activities in the state be clarified once and for all.
“I think as a responsible government, you have to take the matter to court to find out whether the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) or the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) by the state prevails.
“Currently, it’s causing a lot of uncertainty in the oil and gas industry and this has to be clarified,” he told reporters when met after paying Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah a Raya visit at his Hari Raya Open House held at Penview Convention Centre here today.
He was commenting on the Federal Court’s dismissal of Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) application to commence proceedings to determine that the national oil company is the sole authority of all upstream oil and gas activities in the country, including Sarawak.
Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop had on Friday rejected Petronas’ application of leave to commence proceeding on the matter in the Federal Court.
Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, said following the Federal Court’s decision, this is a golden opportunity for the state government to prove its claim.
“If at the end of the day, the court says you (state government) have no claim, the state can still fall back on the 20 per cent oil royalty we (PH) have offered.
“In the oil and gas industry, a 20 per cent oil royalty is almost the maximum you can earn from extraction and sale of oil because you have the cost, research and development, and oil exploration cost taken into consideration,” he explained.
The Stampin MP reiterated that there’s no point for the state government to state that it has the right to the state’s upstream oil and gas activities outside of court.
“It doesn’t serve any purpose and will only add to confusion and uncertainty to the industry,” he said, adding that this will also cause Sarawakians to suffer where job and business opportunities will be affected.
“So if the state government is serious, file the case in High Court.”
Last month, Petronas filed an application to seek a declaration from the Federal Court on matters pertaining to PDA and its position when it comes to the regulatory controls of upstream activities in the state.
It is seeking a declaration that the PDA was duly enacted by Parliament and stated that it is the exclusive regulatory authority for the upstream industry throughout the country.
Petronas is also seeking a declaration that the OMO was repealed by the PDA and hence Sarawak’s own oil and gas company, Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), which will serve as the regulator of oil and gas activities in the state based on OMO is not valid.