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Media Statement by Wong Ho Leng in Sibu on Tuesday, 4th May 2010:

BN Government’s action of surrendering oil-rich Blocks L & M : An Act that relinquished the Sovereignty position of Sarawak

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week revealed that the oil-rich Blocks L & M are no longer rightfully owned by Malaysia, which had incurred a possible loss in excess of up to RM320 billion. Dr. M had also accused his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of giving away these rights to oil earnings for the exchange of Limbang in Sarawak. Both the Block L & Block M are situated offshore near Limbang, Sarawak.

Even so, the Brunei government has not made it clear regarding its stand on the territorial disputes involving Limbang. So I ask: what is the point for giving up the sovereignty of the two oil-producing areas that has potentially incurred serious losses to our nation’s interest?

In addition, I also have to question the Abdullah Cabinet for reaching an agreement with the Brunei Government to give away the oil sovereignty, as it is tantamount to giving up part of its own territory.

The second provision of the Federal Constitution states: “If the federal government is to change the state's borders, it must obtain the consent of the state in order to do so.” Thus, if the oil-producing areas are located well within the territory of Sarawak, the Federal government would have obtained the consent of the Sarawak State Government, and the State Government would have to give consent to the State Assembly. If you recall, when the Federal government sought to establish Putrajaya as its own federal territory, the Selangor Government took this step and gave consent by consulting its own state assembly first, before making the huge decision.

Thus, the Sarawak BN government needs to clarify immediately whether they have neglected the interest of the Sarawakians by giving up the jurisdiction on the two disputed oil-rich blocks to the Federal government? Moreover, the Sarawak state government also has to clarify the reasons why the issue was not debated thoroughly in the state assembly. If the issue was brought up as a motion to be debated in the state assembly, I am sure that our own PR state assemblymen will not allow such an issue that boldly undermines the interest of Sarawakians to be discreetly swept under the carpet.

I also call upon the Sarawak BN government for a detailed explanation on this issue: on whether they were aware of such “trades” involving Limbang and the Blocks L and M, and their level of understanding and involvement in this “trade”. If the SUPP were not aware of such trading, that led to the ceding of Malaysian sovereignty to Blocks L and M, then it only proves that the SUPP are not at all capable to be the state government of Sarawak. Such an exclusion and ignorance by the BN to the SUPP had vitally demonstrated to the people about the position of SUPP - that the BN government had completely marginalized SUPP in their negotiations, and SUPP are powerless in their position to be involved.

SUPP needs to give an answer to the Sarawakians immediately. Sarawakians deserve to know the truth about the handover of offshore oil blocks L and M to Brunei last March.

Together with the other PR state assemblypersons, I will raise this issue in the Sarawak State Assembly on May 17, 2010. We won’t let BN to continuously trade off the interest of Sarawakians.

* Wong Ho Leng, DAP Sarawak Chairman & State Assemblyman for Bukit Assek



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