KOTA KINABALU September 25, 2012: Six Sabahans, including leaders from Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and PAS, have filed a suit against Petronas and the Sabah state government at the High Court here, seeking to declare the 1976 agreement between Petronas and the Sabah state government as null and void.
The group of six who called themselves “Royalty for Sabah”, are Zainal Ajamain, Michael Peter Govind, PAS leaders Lahirul Latigu, Mohd Julpikar Ab Mijan, and SAPP’s Dullie Mari and Joseph Wilfred Lakai.
Zainal was co-founder of the United Borneo Front (UBF) but soon after together with Govind, parted ways with another UBF founder Jeffrey Kitingan.
The writ of summon was filed by their lawyer Marcel Jude at the High Court registry.
Zainal in their joint statement said it was illegal for the federal government to take Sabah’s oil which should belong 100% to the people of Sabah.
“The Malaysia Agreement 1963 is very clear on this,” claimed Zainal who is an economist.
The group contended that the 1976 agreement was in conflict with the Federal Constitution, which successive state governments had failed to address for the last 37 years.
“Recently, both the state government and the opposition have promised that the issue of oil royalty to Sabah is high on their agenda, but actually both have no right to determine the quantum for Sabah.
“[Since] 100% of the oil belongs to the people in Sabah, it should be given back to them and let them decide as to how much should be given to the federal government, whoever it may be,” the group said.
They also claimed that their action was in line with the recent statement by PAS president Hadi Awang in Tuaran that “in Islamic concept of governance, the wealth of a region shall be used to alleviate the problems of the people of the region first before it can be brought out of it”.
According to Zainal, similar suits will be filed by groups in another three oil-producing states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Sarawak.