Asfia: Bintulu Port is Sarawaks from a legal, constitutional perspective
0 month ago, 13-Sep-2019
Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar
KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly (DUN) has neither relinquished Sarawak’s rights over Bintulu Port nor has it consented to its establishment, said DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar.
More importantly, Sarawak has its own Port Authorities Ordinance 1961 for the establishment of ports and harbours in the state, he added.
The Speaker reminded all that the Port Authorities Ordinance 1961 “has never been repealed and remains good law”.
“Bintulu (Port) is ours. It has been declared by Parliament that it’s a federal port. We want to state our legal and constitutional position first. About the next step, we’ll see.”
He said Federal Transport Minister Anthony Loke seemed to be puzzled by the recent statements made by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing on the jurisdiction of the Bintulu Port.
“So we look at the law,” said Asfia, adding that Sarawak will also review, update and strengthen its Port Authorities Ordinance 1961.
According to the Speaker, a port is an interface between land and sea.
“Being an island with vast natural resources going through our Bintulu Port, it is our lifeblood and jugular.
“The importance of ports of Sarawak transcends beyond the polemic and dichotomy of who actually owns them. It is transparently clear who has jurisdiction over Bintulu Port,” added Asfia.
“Article 95B(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution reads: In the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak – (a) the supplement to List II set out in the Ninth Schedule shall be deemed to form part of the State List, and the matters enumerated therein shall be deemed not to be included in the Federal List or Concurrent List.
“The Article must be read together with Article 76(1)(c) which reads: Parliament may take laws respect to any matter enumerated in the State List, but only as follows, that is to say; (c) if so requested by the Legislative Assembly of any State,” he said at a press conference at the DUN Complex in Petra Jaya here today.
Asfia also read out Section 3(1) of the Port Authorities Ordinance 1961: “There shall be a Port Authority for every port specified in the First Schedule.”
He said Section (3)(2) states “The Governor in Council may, by order amend the First Schedule” while Section 12(1) states “The Governor may appoint a Central Ports Board consisting of a chairman and such other members as he may think fit.”
“Section 12(3) states: The Governor may refer to the Central Ports Boards for its advice any matter relating to the policy or efficient operation of any port, or to the co-ordination of any two or more ports, or any other matter relating to any individual port or to ports in general,” he pointed out.