Sarawak to use documents found in London last year in Petronas suit

Sarawak assistant minister Sharifah Hasidah says ‘certified true copy’ documents discovered by a team of lawyers last year on state rights to oil wealth will be tendered in court. (Youtube screengrab)

KUCHING: Sarawak will use documents related to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement which were found in London last year as a reference in its fight for rights to oil and gas produced in its territory.

State Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the documents, discovered by a team of lawyers which she led, could serve as evidence on the state’s rights.

“We will definitely use the documents that we obtained in London; they are certified true copies not just photostated. These will be used to assist us as evidence later in court,” she said when asked about Sarawak’s preparations in facing Petronas’ attempt in the Federal Court to seek a declaration that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 was also valid for the petroleum industry in Malaysia.

The national oil company had applied for a declaration of its exclusive ownership of the country’s petroleum resources, and named the Sarawak government as respondent.

Sharifah said Sarawak Attorney-General Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid would head the state’s legal team to the hearing.

“We wait till June 21 and see whether the court will grant Petronas leave to proceed with its application and from there we will see what further action the state government will take,” she added.

Petronas’ application was fixed for hearing on June 12 but later postponed to June 21.

In September last year, Sharifah had said that documents obtained by the team to London included those on the “Continental Shelf”, which confirmed the ownership rights of the state to the natural resources on the seabed and in the subsoil of the continental shelf within the boundaries of Sarawak.

Petronas seeks court declaration on ownership of petroleum resources