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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sarawak govt to go all out to defend state's right following suit by Petronas

KUCHING - The Sarawak government says it will do all it can to defend the state's rights with regard to its oil and gas resources.

This follows a court application filed by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) that the company is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources in the country.

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the Sarawak Attorney-General's Chambers was served with a notice from the

Federal Court Registry on Monday (June 4) that the state government was being made a party in the suit by Petronas.


"At the moment, the state has yet to receive the motion filed by Petronas related to the application.The state government will do everything within its powers, in accordance with the rule of law, to defend our rights in this matter," she said in a statement on Monday (June 4).

She added that Petronas' application for leave made under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution would be heard on June 12 in Putrajaya.

Earlier on Monday, Petronas said in a statement that it had filed an application before the Federal Court seeking a declaration on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) being the law applicable for the petroleum industry in Malaysia.

It also wants the declaration to state that Petronas is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources and the regulator for the upstream industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak.

"Petronas believes that the determination by the Federal Court would help provide clarity on its rights and position under the PDA.

"Petronas remains committed to support Sarawak’s aspiration to participate in the oil and gas industry in the state, for as long as it is within the framework of the PDA," it said.

The court action by Petronas comes a month before Sarawak is set to assume full regulatory authority over oil and gas activities in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said in March that the relevant state laws, including the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016, would be amended or take effect on July 1.

As such, he said, all persons and companies involved in the oil and gas industry in Sarawak must henceforth have the necessary licences and approvals required by the state's laws.

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