In a symbolic ceremony tonight, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg asserted the state’s right to oil resources and promised more to come under the BN government.
The ceremony, held in Kuching, saw the launch of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), which will allow the state to exploit its oil resources, presently being dominated by Petronas, a company under the federal government.
Petros is set to assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak from July.
"Tonight, I would like to announce to Sarawakians what I promised in Sibu recently.
“Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has agreed to return to the state power that has been inadvertently eroded over the years.
"Therefore, the state will exploit our oil and gas natural resources, which is constitutionally under the state list, as per the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution," he said.
Abang Johari stated that the launch of Petros tonight is testament to the substantial progress that has been made in the ongoing discussion on the devolution of power to Sarawak.
"With the continued support of the people for BN, more progress will be made so as to meet the aspirations of Sarawakians, and to ensure that the state of Sarawak attains the level of the more developed states in Peninsular Malaysia...," he said.
This will be achieved, he claimed, by the additional revenue from oil, gas and other minerals to fund the state's development agenda.
The chief minister added that Petros will be granted rights to mine oil and natural gas in Sarawak, and will be an important player in the upstream oil and gas industry.
A licence for this purpose was also issued to Petros in tonight’s ceremony.
Abang Johari stressed that Petros must build on its strategic presence in Sarawak in order to grow and to deliver sustainable economic benefits, while simultaneously safeguarding the interests of the state government and its resources.
"Accordingly, to ensure that Petros performs its mandated roles in a prudent manner, it is required to seek guidance from the Sarawak government for broad policy direction in the execution of its strategic roles and responsibilities," he noted.