Ex-Sarawak CM says Kelantan has no right to oil royalty

(The Malaysian Insider) KUCHING, March 11 — Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub, who was Sarawak Chief Minister when the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) came into force in 1974, has thrown his weight behind the federal government’s contention that Kelantan has no right to oil found beyond its territorial waters.

He told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that unless Kelantan could prove that its territorial waters extended beyond the three nautical mile limit, it could not claim royalty payments for oil found offshore.

“Of course if oil is found within the three mile limit it belongs to the state. If it is found offshore then it belongs to the federal government,” the 82-year-old former Sarawak CM said in an interview here.

But he added that his view that Kelantan had no rights to oil found offshore “might be wrong.” “Tengku Razaleigh was one Umno member with knowledge of the economy. He ought to know what happened with Kelantan,” he said in reference to Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s continuing fight for Kelantan to be given oil royalty payments.

He said the legal position of the states in peninsular Malaysia was different from that of Sabah and Sarawak. Abdul Rahman said that Sarawak was entitled to oil royalties because Queen Elizabeth had declared in 1954 that the east Malaysian state’s territorial waters extended beyond the three-nautical-mile limit.

The British monarch’s declaration was used by his Sarawak administration to negotiate payments for the state, said Abdul Rahman. He did not, however, want to comment on why the federal government had paid royalties to the Terengganu government.


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