Sarawak party says state should claim ownership of its oil

Aspirasi president Lina Soo (centre) suggested this could be done by passing legislation in the State Legislative Assembly to repudiate the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act (TSA). ― Picture by Sulok Tawie
Aspirasi president Lina Soo (centre) suggested this could be done by passing legislation in the State Legislative Assembly to repudiate the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act (TSA). ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

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KUCHING, March 14 ― After the High Court ruled that the state has the right to impose sales tax on petroleum products, the next step is for the state government to declare the ownership and economic rights over oil and gas resources, Sarawak People's Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) stressed today.

Its president Lina Soo suggested this could be done by passing legislation in the State Legislative Assembly to repudiate the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act (TSA).

“Both the PDA and TSA have impinged upon Sarawak’s territorial integrity over our petroleum resources and territorial waters, and by not seeking a constitutional redress, our sovereignty will be compromised in acquiescence as silence will be taken to mean consent,” she asserted.

Soo called upon the state government to raise two motions to reject both the PDA and TSA when the state assembly sits in May this year.

Soo asserted that an oil corporation cannot subvert the authority and territorial integrity of Sarawak, and no company can be bigger than the state of Sarawak

She congratulated the Sarawak government on its victory in the judicial review where the High Court ruled that Sarawak has to right to impose sales tax on petroleum products.

Soo hopes that Petronas would promptly pay up the petroleum 5 per cent sales tax owed to the Sarawak government for 2019 and not waste further the court’s time and taxpayers money in frivolous court proceedings.

She reminded that in June 2018, the Federal Court denied Petronas’ application for a declaration that Petronas was the owner and absolute regulator of Sarawak petroleum.

“This means Petronas must apply for licensing and permits as required under the Sarawak Mining Ordinance (OMO),” she said.

She urged the state government for an update on whether Petronas has met the requirement.

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