Relook at PDA74

Samarang Platform. Photo: Petronas

KUCHING: The Federal government should relook into issues pertaining to the country’s oil and gas, especially the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, said Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said laws, including the PDA74 passed by Parliament cannot be static.

“What has been agreed when we formed Malaysia or when the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 was passed cannot be static,” he told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday (July 25).

He said the royalty percentage that Sarawak is getting, which is a meagre five percent, is just pittance compared to what the federal government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) are taking.

“The development gap between Malaya and the two Borneon states (Sarawak and Sabah) which helped formed Malaysia has made many citizens in the two states question why they are still so far behind in terms of infrastructure development, schools, hospitals, roads, ports, etcetera.

“Therefore, I fully agree that a relook into these matters need to be done,” he said, while echoing constitutional law expert Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi’s views pertaining to the oil and gas issues.

He said he fully agreed to what Prof Shad said, that the Federal government must resolve issues of petroleum, oil and gas rights as well as rights over resources in the Continental Shelf of Sabah and Sarawak.

Prof Shad had remarked during a live webinar held by The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI) on July 24 that the federal government must resolve the oil and gas disputes with Sabah and Sarawak to prevent a larger and more complicated crisis.

“I know this is a bone of contention. My view is that in a federal system of government, the federal government should be open to discussion and to (constitutional) amendment.

“We need to evolve on issues pertaining to petroleum, oil and oil fields which should be renegotiated. I sympathise with the complainants (Sabah and Sarawak) which often ask, ‘How can you (Malaya) just give us five percent?”

“But it needs a rewriting of the constitution, which is not impossible if Sabah and Sarawak are agreeable (to it) and the Federal government can come around,” Shad said.