BANGKOK (Sept 20): The Malaysia and Thailand Joint Authority (MTJA) will provide an endowment of US$2 million to each Government to support research and development (R&D) in petroleum activities for the Joint Development Area (JDA).
This was announced by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali to commemorate 40 years of successful collaboration between Malaysia and Thailand.
He said the collaboration through MTJA has benefited both Malaysia and Thailand significantly, including in the creation of jobs and opportunities, growth of supporting industries, and contribution to the energy supply of both countries.
“The success of MTJA in generating revenue for both countries is such that five TSCF (trillions of standard cubic feet) of gas has been produced since first gas was delivered in 2005.
“As at the first half of 2019, US$10.1 billion had been cumulatively remitted to both Malaysia and Thailand, with each country receiving US$5.05 billion.
“I am pleased to share that MTJA will provide an endowment of US$2 million (each) to both governments.
“We trust both countries will continue the legacy of MTJA for the benefit of future generations,” he said at the 40th anniversary of the establishment of MTJA themed “40 Years of Shared Prosperity” here, tonight.
On average, JDA’s gas production that flows into Peninsular Malaysia through the Peninsular Gas Utilisation system accounts approximately 9.0 to 10 per cent of Malaysia’s total average annual gas production.
Present were Thai Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, Malaysian Co-Chairperson of MTJA Tan Sri Dr Rahamat Bivi Yusoff, Thai Co-Chairman of MTJA Dr Kurujit Nakornthap, Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel, and Ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia Narong Sasitorn.
MTJA, a joint body to assume all rights and responsibilities on behalf of the Malaysian and Thai governments, explores and exploits hydrocarbon resources in the Joint Development Area off Narathiwat and Kota Bharu in the best interests of both countries.
On Feb 21, 1979, Malaysia’s former prime minister Tun Hussien Onn and Thailand’s former prime minister General Kriengsak Chomanan inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Chiang Mai to establish the joint authority.
Meanwhile, Azmin said MTJA has played a key role in driving Malaysia’s growth and development, directly contributing to the wealth and prosperity of the people.
“With tonight’s celebration, I would like to renew Malaysia’s commitment to further strengthen bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and Thailand to continue our efforts in working towards the objectives of the MTJA MoU,” he said.
Azmin also commended MTJA for its efforts in facilitating R&D by Malaysian and Thai universities in the fields of science and technology relating to exploration and exploitation of petroleum and natural resources for the JDA.
“MTJA is considered as one of the more successful and progressive joint authorities with regard to exploration, development and production of oil and gas following the discoveries and commercial production to date,” he said.
Thailand is Malaysia’s fifth largest trading partner globally and second largest within ASEAN. Bilateral trade is growing steadily reaching US$26.2 billion in 2018, an increase of 14.2 percent from 2017.
In terms of investment, as at end-June this year, net foreign direct investment inflows from Thailand stood at US$ 534.6 million, mainly in the services sector.
Thailand is a major investment destination for Malaysian companies in the services and manufacturing sectors with total direct Investment abroad outflows of US$2.5 billion during the same period.
In his speech, Sonthirat said the establishment of MTJA has always been referred to as a unique model of international cooperation and the first success story on joint development of petroleum resources in an overlapping-continental-shelf-claimed area.
“MTJA’s proud achievements have brought about not only the equal financial benefits to both governments, but also the mutual energy security and economic developments to the two nations from the natural gas production from JDA,” he said.
Sonthirat hoped MTJA could serve as a model for dispute settlement, for a peaceful solution and a successful outcome.
“I strongly believe that the 21st century will continue to be a century of maritime delimitation settlements.
“The Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, as a whole, are characterized by overlapping claimed areas. In the case of Malaysia and Thailand, I’m very glad that we decided to resolve the conflicting boundary claims amicably through diplomatic negotiation and discussion.
“MTJA could be a good example for other countries, with similar problems of overlapping claims, to emulate,” he said.