Thursday, June 20

‘Seek solution out of court’


Minister calls on Petronas to withdraw suit on exclusive oil and gas rights in S’wak, says Malaysia Agreement 1963 supersedes Petroleum Development Act 1974

Wong shows his winding-text-of-speech at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday, the seventh day of sitting.

KUCHING: Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh waxed philosophical when asking Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) to consider withdrawing their suit on exclusive ownership of oil and gas resources in Sarawak.

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 roots, there would be no tree and no leaf, Wong said.

“The leaf (like the PDA) is insignificant. The roots give life to the tree just like the Malaysia Agreement gave life to Malaysia.”

Petronas filed a suit against the government of Sarawak last month seeking to enforce its purported sole rights over the oil and gas industry in the nation under the PDA74.

“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 the initial suit was dismissed by the Federal Court on a jurisdictional point.

“We thus call on the prime minister to abide by and fulfill the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to uphold and restore the rights of the parties to the MA63,” he added..

The restoration of such rights is clearly inconsistent with the Petronas suit which is premised solely on the PDA74, he added.

The MA63 supersedes the PDA74 and the Constitution, Wong pointed out.

“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 are, in fact, calling into question the very formation of Malaysia in the first place,” he added.

“We would therefore like to appeal to the federal leadership to consider favourably giving back to Sarawak the rights which are due to it. I am sure both our Sarawak leadership and that of the federal would not want to adopt steadfastly the attitude of ‘winners take all’ and ‘losers lose all’.

“To resolve our dispute in all matters, all that is necessary is a little ‘give and take’, a little concern for each other’s feelings, sincerity, care and conviction in our minds and hearts that we truly want and value unity and co-operation and share the spirit of oneness and togetherness for the good of Sarawak and our nation,” said Wong, who is also United People’s Party (UPP) president.