Oil protest deferred but PAS vows another one soon
Wong Choon Mei
KUALA LUMPUR, March 19:PAS leaders have urged the people of Kelantan and Terengganu not to be disheartened by the postponement of a mammoth rally due to take place at the Sultan Mahmud Airport, where oil royalty pressure groups Gegar and Mampat were to deliver a memorandum to the King.
“Do not be disappointed. We will try to deliver the memorandum at another time and place,” PAS vice president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man told Harakahdaily.
“Meanwhile, we are saddened by the objections and the actions of the police. Their job is not to menghalang (obstruct) the protest, but to mengawal (control) the crowd. It is the people’s right to highlight to their King what they believe is gross injustice and discrimination.”
Indeed, vice president Salahuddin Ayub, who heads the party’s newly-created special committee on oil royalty, is already planning another peaceful gathering in June.
“This will be a very huge one but it will be a peaceful demonstration. In terms of scale, it will be like the Bersih and the Move to Abolish ISA rallies, where tens of thousands of Malaysians took part,” Salahuddin told Harakahdaily. We want the King to intervene
Gegar and Mampat had organized the joint demonstration involving the people of both Kelantan and Terengganu, which was due to take place this Saturday, when the King – who is also the Terengganu Sultan – would be returning to his home state.
Their representatives wanted to hand over a memorandum beseeching His Majesty to intervene in the dispute the two states currently have with the federal government.
However, the police ordered Gegar and Mampat to stop the event on the grounds that it could threaten national security.
“After deliberating on it and in the interests of everyone concerned, the organizers have decided to defer handing over the memorandum to another date. We will announce when at a later date,” Kuala Terengganu MP Wahid Endut told Harakahdaily.
Fight goes on
Oil royalty payments or rather non-payments have long been a source of discontent to the people in both Kelantan and Terengganu, with the federal government refusing to honor agreement the states signed with national oil firm Petronas.
According to agreements signed by Terengganu on March 22, 1975 and Kelantan on May 9, 1975, the states are entitled to get 5 percent of total annual oil produced in their territory.
However, due to the federal government’s refusal to acknowledge the deals, the two east coastal states now remain among the poorest in the country despite their enormous oil wealth.
“Oil is not an inexhaustible resource. Every drop is precious so we must fight on and make sure that Kelantan and Terengganu get what is due to them. The money must be properly spent to diversify their economies for the future,” Tuan Ibrahim said.
Gerakan Bertindak Kembalikan Royalti Rakyat (GEGAR) ialah sebuah badan bertindak yang mengabungkan lebih 50 buah badan-badan bukan kerajaan (NGO). Ia terdiri dari dua gabungan NGO induk iaitu Gabungan Badan-Badan Bukan Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan (GABUNGAN) dan Majlis Pemuafakatan Rakyat Terengganu (MAMPAT). Matlamat utama penubuhan GEGAR ialah bagi mendapatkan kembali hak royalti berasaskan kepada Akta Kemajuan Petroleum 1974 dan Perjanjian Petroleum menurut Seksyen 4 Akta pada 1975.