Saturday, January 28

Repudiate all unconstitutional laws, Sarawak govt told

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Lina Soo

KUCHING: The Sarawak government must reject all unconstitutional federal laws, including Petroleum Development Acts (PDA) 1974 and Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012, Reform Party Sarawak (Star) president Lina Soo said.

“This is like locking all your doors and windows before the robbers come to rob your house,” she added.

“Sarawak must act fast. If not, the long silence can be argued later in court that we agree and acquiesce. All other matters can come later. But the law is on our side: state law, federal law, customary, constitutional law, and international law,” she said.

However, Soo noted that the Sarawak government could not go to court because it would be akin to recognising and validating an unconstitutional law for Sarawak.

“The Federal Court last year ruled that PDA 1974 does not repeal or supersede OMO 1958. Otherwise, it would mean that an oil company (Petronas) is bigger than the country of Sarawak.

“PDA 1974 is a federal law which is constitutional for the Malayan states of 1957 only. It cannot apply to Sarawak because we have special protection under the law in both the state and federal constitutions. PDA has never been approved in DUN, so it cannot be enforced in Sarawak,” she added.

The rights to Sarawak’s territory are also enshrined in Article 2 of the Federal Constitution, and TSA 2012 is unconstitutional as it affects the territorial boundaries of Sarawak and Sabah.

The cover of ‘Sarawak and Malaysia Documents’ book.

Under Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution, that is, the territory immediately before Malaysia Day (Sept 16, 1963), the federation cannot enact any law to alter or affect the state’s territorial boundary unless Sarawak first passes a law in its State Legislative Assembly to change it.

Soo, who recently went to London to do her research on Sarawak rights, praised the wisdom of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to amend the OMO 1958, which requires the national oil company to apply for licence to operate in Sarawak.

“When Petronas applies for OMO permits, it is to acknowledge Sarawak’s rights and our sovereignty over our oil. Now, you see why I am so concerned over OMO and MA63. Sarawakians can read about them in my book — Sarawak and Malaysia Documents.”

On Thursday, the Chief Minister reaffirmed Sarawak had no plan to withdraw the five per cent sales tax imposed on petroleum products despite dissent from Putrajaya.

Abang Johari said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had expressed his view that the sales tax “is not fair” at the first federal government Special Cabinet Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 17 last year.

“Lim was saying that it (5 pct tax) might increase costs, and investors might not want to invest in oil and gas in Malaysia because of the sales tax. My reply was it’s our right to impose sales tax under the (Federal) Constitution. If it is not competitive, then the federal government can recalibrate the tax structure because they also impose petroleum income tax of 38 per cent. They can reduce that (38 per cent) in order to be competitive. Why should we sacrifice ourselves for something that is within the right of Sarawak,” Abang Johari stressed.