(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim has made his most unreasonable and outrageous statement since his return to Cabinet after the general election last year when he declared yesterday that the 1975 agreement on the cash payment of petroleum royalty between Terengganu and Petronas as being "null and void."
He said the agreement was no more valid and effective following the Federal Government's decision in September to introduce the Wang Ehsan scheme in the form of payouts for development projects in the state.
Rais said that with the announcement, the Federal Government would no longer recognise the agreement as a "beneficial document" to both Petronas and the Terengganu Government concerning petroleum royalty.
In unilaterally and arbitrarily declaring the 1975 agreement on the cash payment of petroleum royalty between Terengganu and Petronas as being "null and void", Rais is not only extremely unreasonable and outrageous in arrogating to himself the role of super-judge, he has also shown utter contempt for the sanctity of laws, the concept of federalism as well as the damage his statement to international confidence in the rule of law in Malaysia and therefore the countryís reliability as an investment destination.
Raisí statement is a very lame attempt to provide a fig-leaf to camouflage and justify the Federal Governmentsí politically-motivated, unfair, illegal and unconscionable hijacking of Terengganu oil royalty which exceeds RM1 billion this year as a result of increased production and unprecedentedly high international oil prices.
However, in declaring the 1975 agreement "null and void" with effect from the Federal governmentís decision in September to introduce the Wang Ehsan payments, Rais had in fact conceded the legality of the 1975 agreement in the past 25 years - and it is not within his power or that of the Federal government to unilaterally and arbitrarily declare it "null and void" or to revoke it.
As Parliament is in session, the government should table all the documents since the 1970s showing the position of the Attorney-Generalís Chamber and all the Attorney-Generals on the question of the Terengganu oil royalty in the form of a White Paper in the Dewan Rakyat.