Friday, March 12, 2010

Law vs law play in oil royalty dispute

The war of words over Kelantan's oil royalty took another turn with the PKR shooting down the federal government and Umno assertion that the state was legally not entitled to it.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution and Machang MP told Malaysiakini that the law cited by Umno lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun -Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 - to justify withholding royalty had been repealed 30 years ago.

He said Section 13 (1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979 makes this very clear.

"I am not a lawyer but I see this in the Act and it is clear. Kelantan is not bound under the 1969 Act. Hence, how can Hafarizam say that the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 still stands or applies?" he asked.

selambau pkr pc 040409 saifuddin nasution telephone database"This clearly shows that Kelantan is entitled to the claim. Furthermore the Petroleum Mining Act 1966 also clarifies what the terms on-shore and off-shore mean, where off-shore is an area within the continental shelf and the Continental Shelf Act covers a distance up to 200 nautical miles," said Saifuddin.

Saifuddin referred to the disputed Cakrawala oil platform within the Malaysia- Thailand joint development area located 130 nautical miles away from Kota Bharu , much closer than other oil fields in Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak, to justify Kelantan's claim.

Hafarizam, was quoted by Bernama on Thursday as saying that to his knowledge the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969, was still in force and not been repealed by the government.

He had also said the Kelantan state's land mass and its territorial waters spread up to three nautical miles.

The government had also placed advertisement in several Malay dailies in February listing out the reasons why Kelantan was not entitled to oil royalty as oil and gas were extracted beyond the three nautical miles boundary based on the 1969 Ordinance.

That, the advertisement claimed, was why Kelantan is only entitled to RM20 million in compassionate payment.

However, former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had dismissed the advertisement a waste of tax payers money and an insult to their intelligence.

Oil royalty campaign stepped up

Saifuddin said opposition MPs would step up their oil royalty campaign to ensure that Kelantan gets the oil royalty.

At the same time, PAS vice-president and Kubang Kerian MP, Salahuddin Ayub, has submitted an emergency motion to be tabled in Parliament to debate the issue.

He submitted the motion on March 10, to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker's office in which he had written that the issue was of public interest, needing speedy resolution.

INONEn his motion,Salahuddin (right) has asked that Kelantan be allowed to get what was denied by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The Kubang Kerian MP, also thanked Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh, for setting the facts right in regard to the prime minister's declaration that Kelantan was not entitled as the oil was extracted beyond the state's three nautical mile limit.

"Tengku Razaleigh is the authoritative person on the Petroleum Development Act 1975 as he was the Petronas chairperson," he said in his motion.

In a related development, the Malaysian Bar is organising a talk on the Kelantan oil royalty issue on March 20, where the panelists will include Tengku Razaleigh, Law Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and lawyers Cecil Abraham and Tommy Thomas.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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