Malaysian former prime ministers on the left Tun Mahathir Mohamad and on the right Tun Abdullah Badawi

Najib’s predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi allegedly gave away up to RM320 billion in potential oil revenues to in return for Brunei dropping its claim over Limbang in Sarawak.

Opposition supremo Lim Kit Siang found an unlikely ally in Tun Mahathir in demanded explanation from Tun Abdullah Badawi, after reports emerged last week suggesting Malaysia had signed away its oil rights.

On March 17, Abdullah told Malaysian media that Brunei has decided to drop the Limbang issue and as a result, Limbang is part of Malaysian territory, reported national daily, The Star.

“The resolution of the disputes were sealed via the signing of the Letters of Exchange by Abdullah and the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Istana Nurul Iman”, The Star said.

But Brunei media reports denied that Brunei had dropped its claims on Limbang.

Brunei Times for example on March 18, 2009 reported “From a press report, (it was stated that) Brunei has accepted Malaysia’s reported claim on Limbang or that it (Brunei) has dropped its claim (on Limbang).”

Ipoh Timor MP, Lim Kit Siang

“In actual fact, the issue of claims over Limbang was never discussed,” the Brunei daily quoted Pehin Dato Lim as saying. “What was discussed is regarding the demarcation of land boundaries.”

Murphy Oil, which had entered a production-sharing contract with national oil company, Petronas, for Block L and Block M offshore of Limbang, announced last week that it was ceasing operations because “it was no longer part of Malaysia.”

Lim according to Malaysia Insider wanted Abdullah to explain whether he had indeed signed off US$100 billion (RM320 billion) worth of oil rights to resolve Brunei’s claims to Limbang a month before he stepped down as prime minister in March last year and if so, why.

He said the PM should also explain the reports that Brunei’s claims to Limbang remains unaffected despite Malaysia losing these two blocks of offshore oil areas.

The Ipoh Timur MP then called on Najib to spell out “why the Abdullah Cabinet at the time of which he was Deputy Prime Minister had agreed to such unilateral and arbitrary sell-out of the country’s sovereign rights.”