Sabah rights and interests have been sacrificed
Kota Kinabalu, Tuesday, 4 May 2010:
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Datuk Yong Teck Lee, today said
the weak explanation by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs that Petronas has been given commercial right to
operate oil Blocks J and K in Brunei under commercial arrangement CA1 and
CA2 (also known as Blocks L and M in Malaysia) has exposed the fact that
the federal government has sacrificed Sabah's rights and interests. In
effect, the ministry was trying to explain an illegal and unconstitutional
"The Ministry had asserted that the key elements of the Exchange of
Letters in Brunei on March 16, 2009 between Malaysia and Brunei was the
delimitation of maritime boundaries, maritime access, commercial
arrangement for oil and gas and land boundaries.
"Why then did the then Prime Minister not mention anything about oil and
gas and the loss of maritime territories when he proclaimed that Brunei
had agreed to drop their claim on Limbang after the Exchange of Letters on
March 16, 2009 between him and the Sultan of Brunei?
"In fact, immediately after our then Prime Minister's declaration that
Brunei had dropped their claim on Limbang, the Brunei Second Foreign
Minister issued a vehement denial that Brunei had dropped the Limbang
Claim. There was no response from Malaysia . So, at the time, I had
thought that it was the Bruneians who had got themselves a bad deal
without realizing it until it was too late. This is because I was doubtful
that Malaysia would make such a mistake in bilateral negotiations. As we
now know, our then Prime Minister had told only half the truth by
disclosing the Limbang issue but not the loss of the oil blocks.
"Instead of disclosing the loss of our maritime territories, the then
Prime Minister chose to declare only that Brunei has dropped its claim on Limbang. Why was the Prime Minister completely silent on the loss of
Blocks L and M that Malaysia has signed away?
"Why were the Malaysian people, including ex-Prime Minister Tun D.
Mahathir Mohamed, made to wait until the announcement by Murphy Oil
Corporation in the New York Stock Exchange on 22 April 2010 that the two
blocks are "no longer a part of Malaysia"? The announcement shows that
prior to the Exchange of Letters, the blocks were indeed a part of
"Why were Petronas, the Prime Minister and our Sabah Chief Minister
completely silent on such an important issue? Was there something to hide?
Or did the government find it impossible to justify the contents of
letters of March 16, 2009? Why was neither Parliament nor the Sabah State
Legislative Assembly informed?
"Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs also tried to justify the loss of Sabah's 3 million acres in Blocks L and M by relying on the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) which gave the areas
to Brunei. If UNCLOS 1982 is so clear cut that the 3 million acres belong
to Brunei , then why did Malaysia award the same area to an oil company
(Murphy Oil) in January 2003?
"Does the Ministry think the people have forgotten that the previous
month (December 2002), Malaysia had just won the Sipadan/Ligitan case at
the International Court of Justice? Malaysia was already an expert on
international law on territorial disputes. Surely, our government and
Petronas lawyers were already convinced about the Malaysian status of
Block L and M before awarding them to Murphy Oil.
"Were our foreign ministry officials, our government's lawyers, our
mapping department, Petronas and other agencies so incompetent not to have
known whether the areas were within Malaysian or Brunei territory?
"Our current Prime Minister calls the solution to the boundaries issue
with Brunei as "win win". What "win win" is he talking about? For Sabah,
it is "lose lose" because Sabah lost the 5% oil royalties worth RM 16
billion and 3 million acres of maritime territory. The "win win" is only
for Petronas. This shows that Sabah 's rights and interests have been
"This is the price that Sabah has to pay for being the "fixed deposit"
of the Barisan Nasional. It seems that Sarawak, which has no UMNO in their
state, is doing far better than Sabah which ironically is dominated by
UMNO. As stated by ex-Finance Minster Datuk Mohd. Noor Mansor recently, it
is time for UMNO to leave Sabah because UMNO has failed to protect Sabah's
interests and rights in Malaysia . It is also time for the federal
officials to stop insulting the intelligence of Malaysians in Sabah for
thinking that we can be easily taken in by their flimsy arguments," said