It is not impossible to amend statutes Minister in the Prime Minister Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said yesterday.
“I meant there is no Act that is cast on stone and that is true for everything else,” Dompok said apparently comenting on Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman statement that the 1976 Agreement between state and federal goverment then has no provision for a review of oil royalty payment to Sabah.
“I do not know the context of the know the context in which he (Musa) said that, but generally if you tell me that laws cannot be changed then that cannot be true,” he said.
In a reply to question from Luyang Assemblywoman Melanie Chia at the State Assembly sitting last week Musa said “the 1976 Agreement between the state and federal government has no provision for review of the existing oil royalty payment to Sabah”.
Musa who is also Sabah Finance Minister then added “that the past matters should not be raised as it would only ‘hurt’.
However the Chief Minister reckoned that as far as the oil royalty issue is concerned, the people of Sabah should adopt broad-minded attitude.
“Opportunities are still abound for Sabah to reap benefits from the generated from the production of crude oil commodities that are found in the state waters,” Musa added.
Dompos who was met at JCI Penampang’s Keep Moyog River Clean” campaign in Kampung Tagal Babagon was asked to comment on how the state government can go about requesting for increase in oil royalty from federal government.
“For a start any move towards increasing the royalty must have the concurrence of everybody. It is not impossible to amend statutes and there is no Act that is cast in stone, that is true of everything else”.
“While it this is true, of course it is up to the government of the day to decide what is wanted arising from requests of people who like to see changes,” Dompok stressed.
Dompok then added “I have said before, this question (request for increase in oil royalty) has not been given final refusal by the federal government”.
According to Dompok as Upko president he has on several occasions recommended the to the federal cabinet to amend the Act and allow for the increase in oil royalty paid to Sabah.
When asked if he would pursue the issue Dompok replied he would prefer to leave the matter for a while.
“I am keeping it like that, as I want to see first the implementation of development projects that have been promised to Sabah,” Dompok said when asked if he was optimistic about the issue.
*Reporting by Nancy Lai (BP) edited by Bintulu.Org