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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sabah Govt should not chicken out on Petronas suit issue

KOTA KINABALU - The Sabah State Government cannot ignore the importance and ramifications of the suit filed by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), challenging the Sarawak Government’s claim as the regulatory authority in the upstream oil and gas sector.

Former Petagas assemblyman, Datuk James Ligunjang, said, he viewed the Petronas suit filed on June 4 at the Federal Court with great concern.

He said, although it is against the Sarawak State Government, the declaration and relief sought under the PDA74 is ostensibly meant for the whole country, including Sabah.

“All Sabahans should be equally concerned as it affects their future as well,” he said in a statement yesterday.

In its June 4 suit, Petronas was seeking, among others, a declaration that Petronas is the sole authority and power to manage and exploit oil and gas resources in the country under the Petroleum Development Act, 1974 (PDA74).

Ligunjang pointed out that the consequences and effect of the suit is not just confined to Sarawak or the oil-producing States but the entire nation.

“If tomorrow, oil is found in tiny Perlis or Johor, they will be bound by the outcome of the suit,” he said.

In this regard, Ligunjang reckoned that the Sabah State Government cannot stand idly in allowing Sarawak to fight the case alone when it affects the entire nation, especially all oil and gas producing States.

“At least, it is comforting to see Sarawakians rising and uniting to help their government fight the suit. It is not as put forward by Warisan permanent chairman, Datuk VK Liew, that the suit is only against Sarawak and does not involve Sabah, which has other issues.

“It is obvious that Liew has missed the entire point of the suit. As correctly pointed out by a senior lawyer, Haji Ansari Abdullah, that Sabah and Sabahans will be affected by the outcome of the suit. It is hoped that he (Liew) is not overriding the interests of Sabah by politicking or hoping for a federal appointment or fearing Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

“The State Government is strongly urged to vigorously intervene in the suit to protect the interest of the State, its people and future generations,” Ligunjang said.

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