CM: Sarawak will exert mining rights

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said mining was part of the rights of the state that has been enshrined in the Federal Constitution. — File picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said mining was part of the rights of the state that has been enshrined in the Federal Constitution. — File picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Jan 30 — The Sarawak state government said it will exert its mining rights, including oil mining, despite Petronas having the legal right to explore and mine for petroleum in state territorial waters.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said mining was part of the rights of Sarawak enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

He said the state government has also directed Petronas to consult the state on the utilisation of gas from any new fields.

“This is to ensure that Sarawak has the first right of refusal in using the new sources of gas for the development of our oil and gas industries as well as the development of other industries in Sarawak,” he said in his speech at the special sitting to mark the 150th anniversary of the state legislative assembly.

The chief minister also said that the state is also seeking to restore its rights to 12 nautical miles, which was limited to three nautical miles by the Territorial Sea Act 2012.

He said that the Inter-Government Committee (IGC) Report has recommended that Sarawak take whatever actions — be they legislative, administrative and executive — to safeguard the special interests of Sarawak that have not already been incorporated into the Federal Constitution after Malaysia Day.

He said the IGC Report was annexed to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Abang Johari said while the state is still asking for an increase in oil and gas royalty from the present 5 to 20 per cent, greater emphasis is now being placed on the development of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak.

“This will be spearheaded by Petroleum Sarawak Berhad or Petros which will become an active player in the industry within two years,” he said, adding that the state government had last year decided to set up a methanol plant and subsequently its derivatives in Bintulu.

He said a term sheet has been signed between the state government and Petronas concerning the state’s 10 per cent equity stake in the Malaysia Liquefied Natural Gas (MLNG) Plant Train 9 in Bintulu.

“We are also working with Petronas for a larger equity in MLNG 3 plant. Let me emphasise here that Sarawak’s equity in the MLNG projects is our privilege which is exclusive to us,” the chief minister stressed.

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