KUCHING: Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh was philosophical when asking Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) to consider withdrawing their suit on exclusive ownership of oil and gas (O&G) in Sarawak.
According to Wong, asking the Court to interpret the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) without first recognising the supremacy of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is like looking at a leaf on a tree without recognising that, without the root, there would be no tree and no leaf.
“The leaf (like the PDA) is insignificant. The root gives life to the tree just like the Malaysia Agreement gave life to Malaysia,” he said when delivering his ministerial winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.
Petronas had filed an application for leave to commence proceedings under Article 4 (4) of the Federal Constitution, seeking a declaration that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) applied with regard to the regulatory control of upstream activities in Sarawak.
The company was also seeking a declaration that the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 was impliedly repealed by the PDA.
Petronas was seeking a declaration that the PDA was duly enacted by Parliament and stated that Petronas is the exclusive regulatory authority for the upstream industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak.
However, the Federal Court on June 22, dismissed Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) application for leave to commence proceedings against the Sarawak government.
Wong said: “Did Petronas do so with the tacit consent of the Prime Minister? If it did, then that is clearly contrary to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Manifesto which promises to restore Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement.
“But if Petronas is on a frolic of its own in filing the Suit without the knowledge or approval of the Prime Minister, then it is incumbent on the Pakatan Harapan federal government to put a stop to any further steps that may be taken by Petronas after its initial Suit was dismissed by the Federal Court on a jurisdictional point.”
“We call on the Prime Minister to abide by and fulfil the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to uphold and restore the rights of the parties to the MA63.”
Wong said the restoration of such rights is clearly inconsistent with the Petronas Suit which is premised solely on the PDA74, adding that the MA63 supersedes the PDA74 and the Federal Constitution.
“Without the Malaysia Agreement, there would be no Malaysia and therefore, no Constitution and no PDA74.
“Without the Malaysia Agreement in the first place, there is no Federation of Malaysia. It is as simple as that. Those who do not recognise the supremacy of the Malaysia Agreement is, in fact, calling into question the very formation of Malaysia in the first place,” he said.