KUCHING: The state government has been asked to reject the application and enforcement of the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman See Chee How, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said the state should instead claim full rights to Sarawak’s continental shelf in accordance with the Federal Constitution to maintain full control of the use and development of all resources, including the full licensing rights to oil and gas exploration and development.
“Most importantly, we must not shoot ourselves in our foot by agreeing to the limitation of our territorial sea to 12 nautical miles,” he said in a statement yesterday.
According to See, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 cannot impose the provisions of the Continental Shelf Act 1966 [Act 83] and the Petroleum Mining Act 1966 [Act 95] on Sarawak because the state has its various Orders In Council made in 1954, 1958, 1960 and 1962 adopted by the Sarawak Legislative Assembly and the Sarawak Land Code, which have legally delineated and determined Sarawak’s territorial boundary, and the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 with regards to oil mining on and in its continental shelf.
“With the revocation and or annulment of the Emergency Orders, the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 10 of 1969 ceases to have effect under Article 150(7) of the Federal Constitution and the amendments made by Ordinance No. 10 of 1969 ceased to have effect and the two Federal Acts (the Continental Shelf Act 1966 and the Petroleum Mining Act 1966, ie Act 83 and Act 95) ceased to apply outside ‘the States of Malaya’,” he claimed.
“The 2012 Federal Act (Territorial Sea Act) used the international convention UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) to bind all the Malayan states and the territories of Sarawak and Sabah to justify their limitation of the 12-nautical mile territorial limit, which is misleading and fallacious.” According to See, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 takes away the state’s rightful claim to the continental shelf.
“Are we to give up all the rights to oil and gas mining to the federal (government), for those fields outside the 12-nautical mile limit? That would be a huge sell-out of our territorial rights,” he charged.
“That the rights to Sarawak’s territory is exclusively ours is also enshrined in Article 2 of the Federal Constitution. The Federation cannot enact any law altering or affecting our territorial boundary unless Sarawak first pass a law in our legislative assembly to alter it.”
He called the Territorial Sea Act 2012 unconstitutional as it affects the territorial boundaries of Sarawak and Sabah.
“It should be declared that its application is limited to only the ‘Territory of the States of Malaya’ or various provisions in the Act including Sections 3 and 4 must be amended to state that those provisions have no application to the states of Sarawak and Sabah.
“We can have regards to UNCLOS but let us legislate our own Territorial Sea Ordinance and the Exclusive Economic Zone Ordinance to regulate and maintain our rights to the licensing of petroleum mining on and in the continental shelf of Sarawak,” he said.