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Friday, June 8, 2018

Why is the state govt silent on Petronas' oil claim

Former state minister Teo Chee Kang warns that the outcome of Petronas' legal bid on territorial oil rights with Sarawak as defendant will affect Sabah as well.

A former Sabah minister has questioned the state government’s apparent silence on Petronas’ move to have the Federal Court decide on the issue of ownership of petroleum resources in the country.

In a statement, Teo Chee Kang said the Parti Warisan Sabah-led government had not uttered a word on whether Sabah is bound by the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (Act 750).

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president had previously urged the state government to intervene in Petronas’ court application to declare its exclusive ownership of the country’s petroleum resources which named the Sarawak government as defendant.

In response, Warisan permanent chairman VK Liew dismissed Teo’s call for the state to intervene as a party to the case.

He said Sabah’s situation was different from that of Sarawak, given that Sabah had different issues such as “unresolved” oil blocks, including those overlapping with Brunei’s.

Liew also said he was certain that the state attorney-general would advise the Sabah government on the proper course of action.

In his statement today, Teo, who was the special tasks minister in the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) state government, reiterated that Petronas’ legal bid would affect Sabah.

“There are of course many other issues concerning our state rights under MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963).

“Some are peculiar to Sabah alone, but let’s focus on the specific issue raised in the Petronas’ application, namely exclusive rights over oil resources in the whole country.

“In this respect, in so far as the ruling may affect Sarawak, where its government is named as a defendant in the case, it will equally affect Sabah,” he added.

He said Sabah therefore needed to intervene as a party to the case so that its interests could be heard and taken into consideration.

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