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Legal and Moral Duty to RegainSabah’s Oil- Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:  “It is now clear as daylight that it’s the legal duty and moral obligation of the Sabah government and every Sabah MP to take immediate steps and by all available means to regain Sabah’s oil ownership” said DatukDr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief after attending the Public Debate between Tan Sri Harris Salleh and Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee held at the Sabah Gold and Country Club on Friday.

The “explanation” of Harris that he had no choice but to sign the 1976 Oil Agreement with Petronas and receive 5% cash payment for Sabah’s oil as the federal government had stated that Sabah’s oil found off-shore belonged to the federal government and signing and getting 5% was better than getting nothing at all. 

Harris also stated that it was the federal government who prepared the Oil Agreement and he was under pressure to sign the Oil Agreement, partly due to rescue the Sabah government which was left with RM2 million in its kitty.

His story confirms and re-affirms the recent revelations by Tan Sri Majid Khan of the “lies” by the federal leaders in the 1970s that oil found off-shore Sabah belonged to the federal governmentand that it was up to the present-daySabahans to take the matter to court to determine the truthfulness and legitimacy of the federal statement.

Harris’ statement was made in the presence of the 300-strong crowd and the team of Special Branch officers who had recorded everything diligently for their Malayan political leaders. 

It is very apparent that the federal leaders’ assertion that Sabah’s oil found off-shore belonged to the federal government is false.  Nothing is further from the truth.  

Since 1954 the international boundary of Sabah (North Borneo then) was extended to include the area of the continental shelf which remained unchanged until Malaysia Day on 16.09.1963.Sabah’s international boundary is acknowledged in Article 1(3) of the Federal Constitution which provides that:-
1. (3)Subject to Clause (4), the territories of each of the Statesmentioned in Clause (2) are the territories comprised thereinimmediately before Malaysia Day.

This Sabah international boundary is even recognized today in the government official website:

Pursuant to Section 24 of the Sabah Land Ordinance (Cap. 68), it is also clear as daylight that from December 1930, the oil and gas found on-shore or off-shore of Sabah belonged to Sabah.  

“Anyone that does not accept this fact and truth ought to take lessons in the law” stressed Dr. Jeffrey.

“Whatever mistakes of the past should be learnt and steps should be taken to rectify the past mistakes” advised Dr. Jeffrey.

In owning up to Sabah’s predicament on Sabah’s oil, Harris unequivocally advised that it was up to the Sabah lawmakers to make amends and raise the issue in Parliament to re-claim Sabah’s oil and not behave like past and present lawmakers who would put up both hands to support the federal government.   Harris further added that he was certain that if the matter was raised and reasonable, the federal government would agree to Sabah’s demands.

The idea was supported whole-heartedly by Datuk Yong Teck Lee, another former Chief Minister.  Datuk Yong then advised that due to the changes of the times and circumstances, the federal government was at its weakest and Sabah lawmakers as “kingmakers” should leverage on the thisweakness and use the “window of opportunity” to demand for Sabah’s oil and other rights.

For the future and benefit of each and every Sabahan, it has now become the legal duty and moral obligation of the Sabah government and each and every Sabah MP to take every available step to regain Sabah’s oil and gas ownership.   

The Sabah government needs to raise with the federal government the issue of Petronas returning Sabah’s oil and gas ownership and the Sabah MPs need to raise the matter in Parliament.   If they wish to take it further, they should get the Petronas Twin Towers renamed as the PETRONAS SABAH SARAWAK TWIN TOWERS.  

“There is no two ways about it, regain Sabah’s oil or condemn Sabah’s future generations to unwarranted poverty due to the oil revenues being siphoned off to Petronas and the federal government” concluded Dr. Jeffrey.

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