KUCHING, Sept 5 ― Parti Rakyat Sarawak Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan today defended Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing questioning the establishment of federal-owned Bintulu Port since it is sited on Sarawak’s soil.
He said it is within the state’s right to question if the establishment of the port in 1981 was in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
“It is within the ambit of the state government’s jurisdiction to revisit and where necessary review how the annexation, lease of state land or the establishment of the port took place,” he said when responding to comments from PKR’s Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How yesterday.
Lawan said if the establishment of the port was constitutionally and legally right, then the status quo would remain and there would be no further discussions needed.
“Nevertheless, the feedback would be relevant for the state government to delve further into the case, to see if a prima facie case could be established,” he said.
He said following a minor state Cabinet reshuffle last month, Masing was tasked with taking care of ports.
“Who else actually is in the best position if not the minister himself to delve into this matter?” he asked, telling See not to be offended by Masing’s statement regarding the port.
See, in responding to Masing’s earlier statement, had said the deputy chief minister did not understand how the port was established under the Bintulu Port Act 1981.
He had also said the port was established after the passage of the Bintulu Port Act 1981 and the declaration of an area in the Bintulu district to be a site for a federal port in 1978 in Parliament.
He had said all the Barisan Nasional parliamentarians from Sarawak had fully supported the passing of the Bintulu Port Act and the declaration which later culminated in the setting up of the Bintulu Port Authority.