Friday, May 24

Celebrating 108th anniversary of the ‘Grand Old Lady’

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MIRI: While Chinese families celebrated the Winter Solstice Festival with family gatherings yesterday, a group of State Reform Party (STAR) members gathered to commemorate the 108th anniversary for Borneo’s first oil well at Canada Hill here.

Led by its president Lina Soo, they held a mini gathering to commemorate the historic occasion with a cake cutting ceremony.

Also joining the team was social activist Fong Pau Teck who is also the ex-Pujut assemblyman.

Soo said the date December 22 marked a significant historical chapter in Sarawak’s oil and gas development.

She agreed it was common knowledge that the Miri Well No. 1 or better known as ‘Grand Old Lady’ at Canada Hill was the first oil well in the country.

“December 22nd is the most significant date for Miri. Exactly 108 years ago on December 22, 1910, Miri Well No. 1 struck its light crude at a depth of 425 ft and then generated 80 million barrels of oil for 61 years.

“Canada hill oil field was closed on 31st October 1972 and today, the Grand Old Lady stands as testament and monument to the opening chapter of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak,” she said to the media when met during the gathering at Canada Hill yesterday.

In view of that, she wanted to send a clear message that Petroleum Development Act (PDA) only applies to Malaya but not to Sarawak.

She said the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) is still effective and Sarawak has never passed any law to surrender its oil resources to Malaya.

“PDA is federal law which applies to states in Malaya. It may be applicable to Terengganu and Kelantan but as far as we are concerned, it doesn’t apply and cannot apply to Sarawak.

“Sarawak has special protection which Malaya don’t have. We have Sarawak constitution which states that all resources belong to us. The Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63) also spelt out clearly on Sarawak’s rights and powers.”

In view of that, she urged all Sarawakians to collaborate in the fight for Sarawak’s rights enshrined under the MA63.