BAU, Dec 14 — The state government does not intend to buy a stake in Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari said today, in response to a recent offer by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to sell stakes in the company to Sarawak and Sabah.
“What is the point for us to buy the stakes?” he asked at the launch of a Blueprint for development programme here this evening.
He said it will be pointless for Sarawak to buy stakes even if Petronas were to give two or three per cent as the state government will not have a say in how Petronas should be managed.
“Under the Petronas Constitution, the power is for number one,” he said, referring to the prime minister.
He pointed out that even the Petronas board does not have the kind of power that the prime minister has over the oil company.
Abang Johari said the state government must be careful when it comes to dealing with the state’s rights, including oil gas resources in its territorial waters.
“I am not a lawyer, but in GPS we have many lawyers and we support the rule of law,” he said.
The chief minister said it was imperative for the state government to protect its territorial boundary of up to 200 nautical miles from being altered by the federal government.
You cannot simply alter it,” he said referring to the enactment of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 in Parliament that reduced Sarawak’s boundary to three nautical miles from the shore at low tide.
The chief minister said the state’s boundary was established in 1954 by the Queen in Council when Sarawak was a British colony.
He said the state’s border can only be changed with the agreement of the State Legislative Assembly expressed by the law and also by the Conference of Rulers.
Abang Johari, who is also the state Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, expressed his concern with the economic situation faced by Malaysia.
He said many foreign investors have pulled out their funds from Malaysia as at the end of last month.
“The stock market has declined and the value of our currency has dropped against the US dollar and other foreign currencies.
“If we import things from outside, you can imagine how much we have to pay for the goods. This shows that the Malaysian economy is uncertain,” he claimed.
On the other hand, he said, Sarawak’s economy is projected to grow by at least six per cent in 2020.
“When the situation is uncertain, we inject in more funds for our public spending. This is why we pump in more money in the infrastructure sector,” he added.