Najib must undo the “greatest injustice” his late father Razak did
KOTA KINABALU – Maverick politician Jeffrey Kitingan said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must undo the “greatest injustice” his late father Razak Hussein did in “signing away” Sabah’s oil and gas resources to Petronas in 1975.
“How can (then) prime minister Razak give away something that does not belong to him as prime minister?” Jeffrey asked during a press conference here today where he also showed reporters copies of documents on the issue.
“Najib must undo his late father’s greatest injustice against Sabah and reverse the vesting of Sabah’s oil and gas resources back to Sabah from Petronas.
“The real issue is not whether the then prime minister had the authority to sign away Sabah’s oil and gas resources to Petronas, but why should he sign away Sabah’s oil and gas without consultation with or approval from Sabah when the oil and gas belonged to Sabah,” he said.
Jeffrey, who is also Sabah chairman of the Sarawak-based State Reform Party (STAR), said Razak had on March 26, 1975 signed away Sabah’s oil and gas to Petronas by executing the “vesting order” under Section 2(2) of the Petroleum Development Act 1974.
He said the “vesting order” granted in perpetuity and conveyed to and vested in Petronas the ownership in and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia.
“The grant, conveyance and vesting was to be irrevocable and shall endure for the benefit of Petronas and its successor.
“But under Section 24(1) of the Land Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 68), oil and gas in Sabah are, and deemed always to have been, reserved to the state government, together with the right to enter lands and to search for, win, carry away and dispose of the same,” he said.
Razak’s action ‘unconstitutional’
Jeffrey also argued that “under Section 24(2) of the Land Ordinance, the minister (in charge of such resources) is authorised to grant licences to search for, win, carry away and dispose of the oil and gas and to grant leases of the same.
“Under the same section, the state is also entitled to impose payment of royalties on the oil and gas produced.
“Furthermore, land and natural resources come directly under the State List under the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) Report and the Federal Constitution.
“This action by Razak may well be unconstitutional.
“How could Razak give away something that does not belong to him as prime minister?
“By signing away Sabah’s oil and gas to Petronas, Razak has committed the greatest injustice to Sabah,” said the Harvard scholar.
He argued that it is only right that Najib, who was here on a two-day visit recently, undo the injustice by getting Petronas to reverse the vesting and restore ownership of Sabah’s oil and gas to the state.
“It is never a better time for Najib to show his sincerity in resolving Sabah’s oil issue by giving back the oil and gas resources to Sabah, which will also by a stroke of the pen wipe out Sabah’s poverty problems.
“It is also time for the Chief Minister to show that he is truly a Sabahan at heart by not only seeking a review of the ‘oil royalties’ but also to ask the federal government to give back the oil and gas resources to Sabah, since he has said that the current state-federal relationship is very good,” he added.
At the press conference, the video of the speeches of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was also played to show the explanations on the imposition of royalties by the state and federal governments as well as on Tengku Razaleigh being asked to leave the ill-fated Nomad airplane before it took off from Labuan in 1976.
Sabah on its part, however, only signed an agreement with Petronas on June 14, 1976, days after the demise of Sabah’s then chief minister, Fuad Stephens, who perished with most of his senior state ministers in the Nomad air crash on June 6, 1976, after a botched negotiation with federal leaders on oil in Labuan earlier.
Each of the reporters present today was also given copies of the CDs containing the video clips. Also present were senior leaders of STAR from Sarawak, Midi ak Johnek and Alim ak Mideh @ Giovanni Adlim, as well as Sabah leaders of the party.
The duo are here in preparation for STAR’s one-day national convention tomorrow (Thursday) at the Star City’s convention and events centre here. -wargamarhaen