Sarawak may have extra X’mas holiday; not keen on Petronas stake
Published on: Sunday, December 15, 2019
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BAU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the state government may consider declaring an additional day as a public holiday to celebrate Christmas provided there is a vacancy for another public holiday in the gazette.

“I will look into the gazette to see if there is any spare holiday in the gazette as an additional public holiday for Christmas,” he said at the launch of the Blueprint development programme for Bau district.

“If there are no spare holidays, we can discuss. I cannot make a decision right now because the GPS government is subject to the rule of law. We have to look at our law. If there is a spare, then there is no problem, we can declare the additional day as a public holiday for Christmas.

“We will implement it because Christmas is also celebrated by Sarawakians of other faiths, not just by the Christians,” he said.

The Chief Minister was responding to calls for Sarawak to follow the step taken by neighbouring Sabah that have declared an additional day as a public holiday. 

Shafie announced December 24 as an additional Christmas public holiday in Sabah.

Meanwhile, the state government does not intend to buy a stake in Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Abang Johari said, in response to a recent offer by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to sell stakes in the company to Sarawak and Sabah.

“What is the point for us to buy the stakes?” he asked.

He said it will be pointless for Sarawak to buy stakes even if Petronas were to give two or three per cent as the state government will not have a say in how Petronas should be managed.

“Under the Petronas Constitution, the power is for number one,” he said, referring to the prime minister.

He pointed out that even the Petronas board does not have the kind of power that the prime minister has over the oil company.

Abang Johari said the state government must be careful when it comes to dealing with the state’s rights, including oil gas resources in its territorial waters.

“I am not a lawyer, but in GPS we have many lawyers and we support the rule of law,” he said.

The chief minister said it was imperative for the state government to protect its territorial boundary of up to 200 nautical miles from being altered by the federal government.

“You cannot simply alter it,” he said referring to the enactment of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 in Parliament that reduced Sarawak’s boundary to three nautical miles from the shore at low tide.



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