Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Take 95% Shares But Oil Belongs to Sabah–Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:   “The Sabah Government should stop playing hide and seek with Sabah’s oil and gas resources and the Chief Minister should make a clear stand of the government’s intention.   Getting connected bloggers to test the water with speculations is not proper and transparent governance”, said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Sabah STAR Chief, when commenting on the speculations of the Chief Minister intending to seek shares in Petronas for Sabah’s oil and gas resources rather than increasing “Oil Royalties”.

The federal and Sabah governments should realize that they cannot take the people for granted and that they can no longer fool Sabahans and Sarawakians that the oil and gas resources belonged to Petronas and the federal government.

It was daylight robbery when on 26 March 1975, the late Tun Abdul Razak signed the Vesting Order under the Petroleum Development Act, 1974 vesting all of Sabah and Sarawak’s oil and gas resources in Petronas when he had no legal power or authority to do so.

The federal Parliament had no business and no jurisdiction to legislate and pass the PDA when it was clear that land and mineral resources including petroleum and gas remained under the State List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

UnderSection 24 of the Land Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 68), the petroleum and gas resources belonged to the Sabah government.

It was under dubious circumstances the then Chief Minister of Sabah signed the Oil Agreement on 14 June 1976 agreeing to accept 5% cash payment for the oil and gas resources from Sabah and further agreeing to waive all collections of royalties payable to the Sabah government under Section 24 of the Land Ordinance.   

The 1976 Oil Agreement was signed without any discussion and mandate from the State Legislative Assembly as the resources belongedto the Sabah government and NOT to the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister and the Sabah government are missing the point by looking at the oil royalty and rhetorically speaking of asking for an increase and at the same time boasting of how good their relationship with the federal government and federal leaders are.

If indeed the good relations exist, the federal government would have increased the “oil royalty” or cash payment a long time ago and not for the Sabah Umno leaders to keep harping on it.

If the good relations does exist, it should be proven by the readiness of both federal and State government to review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and to discuss the restoration of oil ownership.

“The good relations just does not exist.  It’s a figment of these leaders’ imagination” opined Dr. Jeffrey.

At the recent sitting of the State Assembly, the police were out in full force to disrupt a group of concerned Sabah citizens from handing over a Memorandum to review the MA63 and the PDA 1974.  At my last press conference on disclosure of my Motions to review MA63 and the PDA and the Bill to amend the State Constitution to restore the TYT to Yang DiPertua Negara, a Special Branch team were in attendance.   Surely, these actions cannot be interpreted as good relations but scare and intimidating tactics against the people of Sabah.

The Chief Minister and the Sabah government should stop misleading the people.

If they have any conscience for the plight, welfare and poverty of Sabahans, they should take immediate steps to restore and regain Sabah’s oil and gas ownership rights.

If the Sabah leaders diligently check the history of oil in Sabah and the Hansard of the State Legislative Assembly, they will find that in 1971 it was declared that the Sabah government had signed five (5) petroleum agreements with oil companies and were entitled to 12.5% in oil royalties in addition rents for the areas involved.

“It is all there for all to see.   The PDA 1974 is an unconscionable and unconstitutional piece of legislation and ought to be revoked or declared invalid.    The 1976 Oil Agreement ought to be invalidated on the ground that it was ultra vires the powers of the Chief Minister to sign it” added Dr. Jeffrey.

As for the speculation of asking for shares in Petronas, it is the legal right of the governments of the oil producing States, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, to be entitled to full ownership of Petronas. 

“Petronas is what it is today, due to the oil and gas revenues generated from the oil producing States.  Of course, giving credit where it is due, the management of Petronas, past and present, ought to be commended for their efforts in transforming Petronas to what it is today” said Dr. Jeffrey.

If not for the oil revenues, with some 75% coming from Sabah and Sarawak, the Petronas Twin Towers and the federal administrative capital of Putrajaya would not be in existence today.

It is not wrong for the Chief Minister and the Sabah government to demand for ownership of Petronas.

“If the past history of distribution of oil revenue is any gauge, 95% of Petronas’ shareholding should be given to the oil producing States and the remaining 5% shares be given to the federal government as a gesture of goodwill by the oil producing States” concluded Dr. Jeffrey.

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
Chairman, Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF)
25 April 2014


Post a Comment