Remark on Sarawak quitting Malaysia causes uproar
Thursday July 27, 2006
KUCHING: An opposition members suggestion that Sarawak withdraw from the federation if it does not get its rights as an oil and gas producing state caused an uproar.
Padungan assemblyman Dominic Ng Kim Hos suggestion, which drew a heated exchange of words with Barisan Nasional members, came after Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu replied to matters related to the recent petrol and gas price increase.
Ng, the sole member from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said Petronas had made a profit of RM70bil this year and the state government should get a better deal for Sarawak.
(Sarawak gets 5% in oil and gas royalties from the Federal Government under an agreement signed in 1975).
Saying that there were rules that Sarawak had to abide by in the federation, Jabu said Ng can make noise if the latter was unhappy.
Withdraw from the federation? asked Ng, drawing criticisms from Barisan members.
Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (BN Asajaya) said Ng had uttered words that were treasonous.
Speaker Datuk Mohd Asfia Awang Nasar then asked Ng if he still stood by his remarks.
Asfia warned that, under Standing Order 32 (10), words that were treasonous, seditious or could cause ill-feeling among the various races or infringed on the state constitutions could not be used. Ng then backed down and withdrew his remarks.
Earlier, Second Finance Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh said that under the Petroleum Development Act the entire ownership and exclusive rights of exploring and obtaining petroleum onshore or offshore of the country was vested in Petronas.
Wong said the state government had on numerous occasions sought an increase in royalty rates but was not successful.
However, he said, the Federal Government had increased its development allocations to the state, from RM2bil in the 5th Malaysia Plan to RM11.8bil in the 8th Plan, and to RM15bil in the 9th Plan.