Conflicting laws may hamper full regulatory control on resources in Sarawak, says assemblyman

See explained that the TSA limits Sarawak’s territorial boundary to three nautical miles from 200 nautical miles, while the PDA gives the rights over oil and gas resources to the national oil corporation (Petronas). — Reuters pic
See explained that the TSA limits Sarawak’s territorial boundary to three nautical miles from 200 nautical miles, while the PDA gives the rights over oil and gas resources to the national oil corporation (Petronas). — Reuters pic

KUCHING, May 17 — A PKR assemblyman said today the state government’s move to exercise full regulatory control over oil and resources found within Sarawak’s territorial boundary could face legal constraints posed by two federal laws.

State Assemblyman for Batu Lintang See Chee How said the state government will have to address the legal constraints posed by the Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012 and the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 before it can exercise the regulatory control.

See explained that the TSA limits Sarawak’s territorial boundary to three nautical miles from 200 nautical miles, while the PDA gives the rights over oil and gas resources to the national oil corporation (Petronas).

He said oil and gas resources are outside the three nautical miles of Sarawak.

See, who is also the state PKR vice-chairman, said the legal constraints should have been addressed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg and the panellists during the ‘Industry Engagement with Oil and Gas Companies in Sarawak’ session yesterday.

He urged Abang Johari to call for the state assembly sitting as soon as possible to table, deliberate and pass the regulatory control over all oil and gas (O&G) industry entities in the exploration, prospecting and mining of petroleum.

He said it should have been done before the state exercises full regularity power on oil and gas resources on July 1 this year.

“We, in PKR Sarawak, lauded and would fully support the state government’s efforts to reclaim our constitutional authority to regulate the exploration, prospecting and mining of petroleum and all other mineral resources within the territory of Sarawak,” he said.

However, he said it must be done in a manner that is constitutional, lawful and following the legislative process.

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