KOTA KINABALU : The Member of Parliament for Sabah, Datuk Darell Leiking today expressed concern over the proposal by Sabah Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. to close several of its offices in the State, as reported by a national news portal recently.
He said that the proposal is shocking considering that Sabah is one of biggest oil producer in the country and such closures, if indeed will. proceed, will cause a big loss to the State’s oil and gas industry.
“Sabah may currently sit as the second largest oil producer in the country but our State has unexplored reserves and these should have been accounted into by any foreign investor if they wishes to commit to the development of the State’s industry.
Hence, as a matter of principle, foreign investors should have understood it that while Sarawak and Sabah are both formed the Federation of Malaysia, any activity to utilize our State’s natural resources for profit-based economies should be compensated by developing Sabah thru the creation of employment and economic spillover.
Sabah Shell through Malikai TLP offshore Sabah had recently invested in the 2nd Phase of Malikai deepwater development involving 2 additional oil producing wells and 4 water injection wells with production expected to start in 2nd quarter next year (2021).
Such investment would had necessitated the expansion of the company’s existing offices in Sabah, if not to create more but what happened is the other way round (closure of offices),” he said in a statement today.
Darell also said that the historical status of Miri as Shell’s first oil production district in the country or Sarawak as the current largest oil producer do not validate the company’s decision to set up its office there.
“A few days ago, a news daily had reported it that Shell is planning to set up a new office at Miri that will cater about 1,000 employment opportunities and bring a massive economic growth in that district.
While Miri may had enjoyed the historical status as the first district in Malaysia where Shell had set up its office in 1910, it is now 2020 and the Shell is currently enjoying oil that is coming from Gumusut-Kakap and Malikai, both of which are located in Sabah.
So there is no validation at all to set up a new office in Miri just because of the historical status and we must protect the State’s Oil and Gas Industry by engaging with that oil company and tell them that while we welcome them to do their business in the State, what had been taken out from Sabah must be processed in our State.
Imagine the humiliation we Sabahans have to face when the Bruneians from Brunei are shaking their heads at disbelief when seeing how easy it is for our natural resources to be exploited and we’re keeping quiet over it,” he added.
Darell whilst reiterating that he is personally against the “Emergency” proposed by the Prime Minister also said that with that impending Emergency proposed to be enforced all over the country soon, the State Cabinet Ministers must ensure that the State’s territorial rights be safeguarded to prevent another exploitation by the Federal Government as was in the past.
“We have learned it thru Zainnal Ajamain thru his series of lectures before that the Federal Government had controlled our continental shelf beyond 3 nautical miles by the Emergency Ordinance back in 1969 and that there had been attempts by the Federal Government thru the Territorial Sea Waters Act 2012. Fortunately, the PH-Warisan Malaysia Agreement 1963 had resolved this matter save that we are not certain why this Current PN led Government is not fully implementing what the then PH-Warisan MA63 Committee had agreed upon.
While we do not have details nor are we privy about the impending emergency to be enforced by Muhyiddin Yasin, we Sabahans must remain vigilant to safeguard our rights and to prevent further exploitation by anyone of our natural resources no matter what the circumstances.
This is a trying time and Sabah’s rich resources such as lands and minerals will surely be tempting enough for some to exploit and only a united Sabahans can prevent this from happening,” he concluded.
*Darell Leiking, Member of Parliament for Penampang
Sabah State Assemblyman for Moyog