KUALA LUMPUR (June 22): The Federal Court’s decision in dismissing an application from Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) for leave to commence a legal challenge against the Sarawak government, does not in any way impair the national oil company’s ability to further pursue its legal actions, with the intent to seek clarity on its rights and position under the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974.
Petronas in a statement said that the court’s dismissal was based solely on technical ground and it was ruled that the matter as framed falls outside of the Federal Court’s jurisdiction.
“The Federal Court did not in any way determine or endorse the merits of the legal position taken by the government of Sarawak to regulate upstream petroleum activity under its Oil Mining Ordinance 1958.
“The Federal Court also noted the concession by the Government of Sarawak that the PDA 1974 was validly enacted,” said the statement.
Hence, this reinforced Petronas’ view that only Parliament could legislate on matters relating to upstream petroleum industry including regulatory powers throughout Malaysia, both onshore and offshore by virtue of the PDA 1974.
Earlier today, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, who was the sole Federal Court judge presiding on the case, dismissed Petronas’ application after ruling that the Federal Court could not hear the matter as the declaratory relief sought by the national oil company was not within the jurisdiction of the Federal Court but the High Court.