Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang.

O&G ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS

KUCHING: Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang called for the Sarawak Consultative Committee on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to be briefed on the ongoing oil and gas rights negotiations.

She said it is of grave concern that the terms of settlement between the state government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) has not been fully revealed.

“It is not acceptable to take a back seat in the negotiation to any other party involved, including the state government executive negotiating team, and wait to be informed of the terms only after all details of negotiations have been finalised.

“As it stands today, I, as a committee member and several other committee members of the Consultative Committee have not been briefed and updated on the ongoing negotiations on the oil and gas matters in Sarawak,” she said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 10).

Chang was responding to the statement from the committee chairman Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who insisted that there was no urgency for the committee to meet.

Abdul Karim said currently, things were going along well, including the forthcoming five percent payment from Petronas.

The Bukit Assek assemblywoman, in turn said it was unacceptable for Sarawakians to adopt a lackadaisical and non-committal attitude by assuming that “everything is going fine” without probing for the full details of the ongoing negotiation.

“The minister should be mindful of the fact that it is not merely about the payment of the forthcoming sales tax by Petronas but more of the fact that Sarawak’s rights and interests should remain intact throughout the whole negotiation.

“This includes the terms of settlement was reached between Petronas and the state government in the court cases,” she said.