KUCHING, April 14 — The Sarawak government yesterday filed an application to strike out a Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) suit filed by 11 Sarawakians.
In a press statement today, counsel Voon Lee Shan, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs, said initially there were 12 of them when the suit was filed in November 2021 at the Kuching High Court, but one has since passed away.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages and asking the court to determine issues surrounding the formation of Malaysia and the validity of the MA63.
The plaintiffs named the Malaysian government, the United Kingdom government, and Sarawak government as defendants.
“The present Sarawak government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has got the Sarawak Attorney General’s Chambers to strike out the suit filed by the plaintiffs on various grounds. They had filed the necessary court papers and served on the plaintiffs yesterday, which is April 13, 2022,” said Voon, who is Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president.
The plaintiffs now have 14 days to oppose the application before the Kuching High Court, he said.
A quick check with the Senior Federal Counsel office in Kuala Lumpur found the Malaysian government will be filing its application to strike out the suit tomorrow.
Based on past reports, the High Court had fixed June 30 to hear or deliver judgment on submissions made by the litigating parties.
According to Voon, there has been much anxiety concerning the integration of Sabah and Sarawak into the Malayan federation to form Malaysia.
“In order to have the matter settled, the best avenue is for the court to determine this. We foresee that this case will reach the Federal Court, the highest court in Malaysia.
“After Malaysia was formed, the federal parliament, which was controlled by the Federation of Malaya, which held the majority seats in Parliament, then passed the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) and a few other laws that vested our Sabah’s and Sarawak’s oil and gas in the hands of Petronas,” he said.
He cited then Petronas CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkilfee Wan Ariffin as saying in 2017 that Petronas was pumping 850,000 barrels of Sarawak’s crude oil every day.
“It is speculated, each year, Sarawak loses, besides marine wealth, about RM100 billion of her oil and gas wealth, but what Sarawak used to get for her annual development fund from the federal government was not more than RM5 billion. Is this fair to Sarawak?” he questioned.
He also claimed the GPS government has not been able to pursue a better deal to reclaim Sarawak’s lost wealth until now to the satisfaction of Sarawakians. — Borneo Post Online