Don’t expect federal leaders to raise issues concerning Sabah and Sarawak considering all that they have already done, said a Sabah NGO.
KOTA KINABALU: Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis, Sabah (PIPPA) has called on policy makers both from the ruling coalition and the opposition, to reclaim the state’s ownership of oil and gas resources.
It urged this in a paper distributed by its members to the various policy makers, including the chief minister Musa Aman, Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly Salleh Said Keruak, deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Lajim Ukin, the Sabah opposition leader, at the State Legislative Assembly Building, yesterday.
PIPPA director Amde Sidek said such a move is appropriate and necessary in view of the fact that the Emergency Law had been lifted on Nov 24, 2011, thus rendering the Petroleum Development Act 1974 null and void.
He explained that the Federal Government took ownership of Sabah and Sarawak Territorial Waters by virtue of the emergency law declared on the May 15 1969 under article 150 of Federal Constitution.
Parliament was suspended and reconvened only on 20 February, 1971.
Between 1969 and 1971 a number of laws were created, among them, three laws that transferred the ownership of Sabah and Sarawak Territorial Waters to the Federal Government as follows:
i. Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.7 1969 [P.U. (A) 307A/1969] enacted 2 August 1969 and came into force 10August 1969.
ii. The Continental Shelf Act 1966;
iii. The Petroleum Mining Act 1966
Ordinance No 7, 1969 limits the State’s territorial waters to three nautical miles including Sabah and Sarawak.
When it was passed in 1966, it could not be applied in Sabah and Sarawak without the consent of the respective States Government.
The two Acts only came into force for Sabah and Sarawak after it was gazetted as P.U. (A) 467/1969 Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No 10 of 1969 dated Nov 8, 1969.
Two years and only silence
The abolishment of the emergency law was announced by the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, on Nov 24, 2011, by virtue of article 150 (7) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
“This article says, all laws made during the emergency, once the six months has lapsed after the proclamation of lifting is announced, are no longer valid but void. The sixth month fell on the 24 May 2012.
“Hence, by the operation of law, a body like Petronas no longer has the right to operate, sign contract, explore and so on. The rightful owner is the state government.
“Unfortunately, after 24 months have lapsed since PM lifted the emergency law, our Sabah lawmakers are still keeping quiet about it, which is unbecoming of a wakil rakyat (elected representative).
“We would not expect federal leaders to raise the issue after all what they did to Sabah and Sarawak.
“We therefore urge all wakil rakyat to take cognition to the rights of the state and the right of the people.
“We hope with the papers we present today (yesterday) would enable them to understand what does the lifting of the emergency law means to Sabah, especially its rights to oil and gas resources.
“PIPPA is ever-ready to assist to make our policy makers and the people in general to understand with regards to the issue,” Amde explained.
He also noted that after receiving the papers distributed by PIPPA, Salleh had responded by promising to look into the matter.
Among the key PIPPA members present to distribute the papers were its chief researcher Zainal Ajamain, and James Ligunjang, besides Amde.
Free Malaysia Today – April 15, 2014