KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's national oil company Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) has gone to court for a declaration that it is the exclusive owner of the petroleum resources in the country, including in Sarawak state.
Petronas said on Monday (June 4) it had filed an application before the Federal Court seeking the declaration under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), which governs the petroleum industry in Malaysia.
The application also seeks a declaration that Petronas is the regulator for the upstream oil industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak.
"Petronas believes that the determination by the Federal Court would help provide clarity on its rights and position under the PDA.
"Petronas remains committed to support Sarawak's aspiration to participate in the oil and gas industry in the state, for as long as it is within the framework of the PDA," it said.
The application comes after Sarawak was in March granted complete mining rights over its territory and formed its own oil and gas company, Petros.
The rights were granted by the federal government, then helmed by the Barisan Nasional coalition, as part of its promise to restore eroded rights of the East Malaysia states of Sarawak and Sabah.
The move was also seen as an effort by BN to ensure the gas-rich state's backing in the May 9 general election, in which BN was defeated.
With Petros, Sarawak was meant to earn its own revenues directly through exploration and downstream activities, instead of relying on payments from Petronas, which currently operates 60 oil and gas fields in the state.