KEPAYAN: The people of Borneo must keep in their mind whether the 1974 Petroleum Development Act which vests all petroleum throughout this country in one company forever is unconstitutional to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
United Borneo Front (UBF) leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the State Government has immense power to review this contract with Petronas. "People are fearful of their lives when bringing up this issue because substantial business interests running into billions of dollars every year are effectively shared between the wholly government-owned Petronas and foreign partners like the Royal Dutch Shell company.
"The shareholders of Royal Dutch Shell PLC company, incorporated in the UK in 2002, include some of the most powerful personalities, companies and countries in the world such as Britain, Singapore, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Norway. "In December 2009, Petronas and Royal Dutch Shell company signed a deal to develop Iraq's oil field of Majnoon, with 60 per cent going to Royal Dutch Shell and 40 per cent going to Petronas. "Whatever is derived from Sabah's oil fields are peanuts compared to where Petronas is heading overseas with their foreign partners. So, why can't they be reasonable and review that measly five per cent that was agreed upon in 1976?" he asked.
Dr Jeffrey said the Act of Parliament can be amended just as the Federal Constitution can be amended and "we should go back to the negotiation tables pursuant to Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act of 1974 to review how much cash payments Sabah should receive from Petronas.
Dr Jeffrey said Shell's interest in Borneo's oil reserves was not new as they had been given the right to explore oil in this area since the early 1900s, so it is hardly surprising that they would continue to have vested interests in Sabah's petroleum with Petronas. "Nobody is going to fight this issue with international powerful people in this business knowing it would be an exercise in futility. "We would merely want Petronas to review our share because they are clearly making more than their fair share outside Sabah and should not be selfish to Sabahans on what should rightfully be ours," he said.
Dr Jeffrey said this when responding to a question from one of the guests of the Borneo Tea Party at UBF's supporter, Andrew Joseph Tuning, in Kampung Ganang here. He said by the Petroleum Development Act of 1974, Petronas was granted the exclusive right in perpetuity to explore, exploit, win and obtain petroleum onshore and offshore in Malaysia; the rights, liberties, powers and privileges of which shall be irrevocable. In return, Section 4 of the Act states that Petronas shall make cash payments to the Federal Government and relevant State Governments (where oil is derived) as may be agreed between the relevant parties.
During the tea party, a seminar was also conducted by Dr Jeffrey and his advisers, Nilakrisna James and Zainal Ajamain, touching upon the political history of Malaysia's formation, the economic issues on Cabotage and State resources and the laws which legitimises unfair economic policies.
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