KUCHING, June 10 — Sarawak reaffirmed today that the state’s rights to the continental shelf, boundary extents, waters, and stamp duties are unequivocal and leave no room for misinterpretation.

Deputy Minister of Law, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and State-Federal Relations Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said these rights are based on clear constitutional provisions and relevant state and federal laws.

She emphasised that the boundaries of Sarawak were extended to include the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf beneath the high seas by the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council dated June 24, 1954.

“Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that the territory of Sarawak shall be the territory as at Malaysia Day,” she said, responding to a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

Advertisement

Yesterday Fadilah said that the federal Cabinet needed to finalise the jurisdictions, including those regarding borders and land, in Sabah, Sarawak and the federal level due to several interpretations.

He said the matter had been discussed in the technical committee meeting under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council that he chaired on May 28.

Sharifah Hasidah further clarified that as of September 16, 1963, the territory of Sarawak includes the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf off its coast.

Advertisement

“Under the Land Code of Sarawak, a pre-Malaysia law, whose validity and effect continues after Malaysia Day by Section 73 of the Malaysia Act 1963, the seabed and subsoil within the boundaries extended by the said Order in Council is state land.

She added that under item 2 of List II (State List) in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution that land is a subject matter under the legislative and executive authority of the state.

She said under item 2(c) of list II, the legislative and executive authority covers “permit and licences for prospecting for mines; mining leases and certificates”.

She stressed that the State Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 provides for the issuing of oil prospecting licences, mining leases or certificates for the exploration and mining of petroleum.

Sharifah Hasidah pointed out that the state government has a constitutional duty to ensure that all constitutional rights and powers belonging to the state are not eroded and fully respected.

“Such constitutional rights and powers should not be affected through purported interpretation of unambiguous constitutional or statutory provisions.

“The state government will continue to engage with the federal government on the exercise of such constitutional rights and powers for the benefit of the nation and to promote the economic well-being and the progress of the federation,” Sharifah Hasidah said.