Sarawak still has the right to 12 nautical miles of territorial waters – CM

Abang Johari stressed a constitutional point by referring to his smartphone.

MIRI: Sarawak has never consented in legislation to the amendment of its border of state territorial waters in Parliament, therefore it still has the right to the established boundary of 12 nautical miles.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in pointing this out, said the amendment could only be valid in law if this was carried out.

He said he stands by the Federal Constitution as the supreme law in asserting that the boundary of Sarawak’s territorial waters was 12 nautical miles, as laws passed by Parliament that affect and alter the ownership of the territory with all its rights herein can have no constitutional or legal effect without the consent of the Sarawak DUN.

“Sarawak has the right to the established boundaries of water of 12 nautical miles. Nobody can changed that as in Article 2 of the State List, that you can’t change the boundary unless the State consents in legislation.

“I stand by the Federal Constitution as the supreme law. If I am wrong, sue me but if I am right, support me,” he said at the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Miri region luncheon dialogue attended by a crowd of 400 from the business community in Miri.

Abang Johari said the current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been supportive of this stand and listens to Sarawak’s voice on her state rights.

He reminded that the formation of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and the exercising of the constitutional rights under Item 2© of the State List and 8(j) of the Federal List as provided in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution was aimed at greater participation of Sarawakian players in the oil and gas industry apart from exploiting her resources according to the state rights.

Ownership of territorial seas and waters means it is within Sarawak’s right to take control of her marine wealth and to exercise the power to grant licences for prospecting, exploration, granting of oil mining leases, and to issue deep-sea fishing licences.

Article 2(b) empowers the Parliament to alter the boundaries of any state but a law altering the boundaries of a state shall not be passed without the consent of that state.