ONE of the topics that have dominated media space in recent days has been the oil royalty issue. Putrajaya has pledged to look into a mechanism that will ensure fair distribution of oil and gas revenue to producer states in Peninsular Malaysia. A special committee will be set up to carry out a comprehensive study, taking into account all aspects of the claims, and will make appropriate recommendations to the federal government.
The committee will be chaired by former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad and members will comprise legal experts from within and outside the country as well as representatives from the Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang governments, according to reports.
With few details for now, one wonders why the committee’s scope covers only the eastern states of Peninsular Malaysia and not also the oil-producing states of Sabah and Sarawak. If that is the case — covering only Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang — then would the original agreement that paved the way for cash payments for oil and gas discovered in the states, which was governed by the 1974 Petroleum Development Act (PDA), be more relevant?