Sarawak yesterday announced that it now has complete mining rights over its territory, in a significant shift in Malaysian politics. Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Haji Openg made the announcement at the launch of wholly Sarawak-owned petroleum company Petros.
Malaysia's national petroleum company Petronas had all these years conducted hydrocarbon exploration and downstream activities in the country and awarded contracts to others, but Petros will now do so in new fields in Sarawak.
The return of this part of Sarawak's rights is part of Prime Minister Najib Razak's plan to ensure that the giant state remains loyal to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The general election is just around the corner, with the opposition making a play for both Sabah and Sarawak by promising to return their state rights signed in 1963.