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Petronas suit hearing postponed

13th June, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The suit by Petronas, the national petroleum company, against the Sarawak state government over the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) has been postponed to June 21.

The case, through which Petronas hopes to reassert its rights over oil & gas reserves in Sarawak, was to have been heard yesterday.

According to a report by The Borneo Post, the Sarawak State Attorney General (SAG) legal team representing the Sarawak government was notified by the Federal Court official by phone that the hearing of Petronas application for leave to commence proceedings against the Sarawak Government under Article 128(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution is postponed to June 21.

The Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office said the Federal Court has acceded to the request by the Federal Attorney General (FAG) for the postponement of the hearing to enable him to consider whether the federal government ought to intervene in this case.

“It is surprising that Petronas who made the application and sought an urgent hearing thereof, has no objection to the postponement of the hearing of the case,” the Chief Minister’s Office said in a press statement yesterday.

The Sarawak government has expressed its deep disappointment over the sudden postponement of the hearing of this case; particularly when Petronas, FAG Chambers and the Federal Court registrar had been informed by the SAG legal team, that the Sarawak Government objects to the application for adjournment.

“The postponement was granted without according the SAG legal team, who are already in the federal capital, the courtesy of being heard on the Sarawak government’s objection. Besides, all affidavits and submissions for the hearing have been delivered to the Court in readiness for the hearing today.

“Although we are disappointed, we respect the court decision. We will protect, uphold and safeguard Sarawak’s constitutional rights which must be respected by all.”

The Sarawak government will now have to consider all other options to protect and enforce Sarawak’s constitutional rights in this matter.

“The Sarawak government would not allow Petronas to disrespect and disregard our rights to regulate the upstream activities under our laws such as the Oil Mining Ordinance and the Land Code.”

Petronas on last Monday, issued a statement saying that it is seeking a declaration from the apex court that the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 is the law applicable for the nation’s petroleum industry.

It is seeking to clarify that under the law, it is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources in the country as well as the regulator for upstream activities nationwide, including in Sarawak.

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