KUCHING, Sept 1 — Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today made it clear today that oil and gas fields located within Sarawak’s territorial waters in the South China Sea remain with the state as Malaysia does not recognise the new China standard map.
He said the Malaysian Foreign Ministry has already clarified the country’s position that “we cannot accept China’s standard map that encroached into our areas.”
“Malaysia has already rejected the new map and Sarawak is in Malaysia. That is our position,” Abang Johari told reporters after chairing Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council meeting at its headquarters in Jalan Bako.
“The map does not affect our territorial boundaries in South China Sea where many of our oil and gas fields are located.”
The PBB president said China has to comply with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as it is a member of the United Nations.
When told that China has a history of not respecting the judgment by the international tribunal in the Hague that did not rule in its favour in the territorial dispute with the Philippines, Abang Johari said that is a secondary issue.
“The whole issue is that the areas that are claimed by China are our areas.
“Don’t tell me we can also come up with our own map (and claim areas belonging to other countries).
“The China map is not binding and that is why we have to comply with the international laws of the sea,” he said.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry on August 30 issued a statement that the country does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea, as outlined in the “China Standard Map Edition 2023,” which also encompasses Malaysia’s maritime areas.
The map holds no binding authority over Malaysia, it said in a statement Wednesday.
The ministry said the map, among other things, displays China’s unilateral maritime claims that encroach upon Malaysia’s maritime areas in Sabah and Sarawak, based on the 1979 Malaysia New Map.
It said the Malaysian government had said that it had consistently rejected any foreign party’s claims to sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over maritime features or maritime areas based on the 1979 Malaysia New Map.