THE Distribution of Gas Bill 2016 could have emulated the amended national Gas Supply Act 1993 (Act 501) in order to achieve its objectives, said PKR lawmaker See Chee How.
The Batu Lintang assemblyman said the provisions in the amended national Gas Supply Act 1993 could be adopted to make the Distribution of Gas Bill 2016 a comprehensive legislature that covers all aspects of supply and distribution of gas in Sarawak.
“It could have, also, amended the Sarawak Gas Supply Services (Operating Company) Ordinance 1995 by incorporating the necessary provisions while retaining the relevant and functional clauses.
“For example, Part IV of the national Gas Supply Act 1993 which has seven sections is quite comprehensive on the powers of entry, inspection, examination, seizure, investigation and prosecution.
“In this Bill, there are only sections 23 and 24 and, in my respectful opinion, are short of those provisions in Act 501,” he said when debating the bill at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.
He therefore urged that the Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom to consider incorporating those sections 4A to 10 of the Gas Supply Act 1993 into this Bill.
He also pointed out that similarly, Part III of the Gas Supply Act 1993, on the functions and duties of the Energy Commission established under the Energy Commission Act 2001 which is applicable throughout the Federation allows for competition in the supply and distribution of gas and protecting consumer rights.
“I do not think that we can exclude the power of the Energy Commission, though we may make amendment in section 4 for the exercising of those functions and duties by the Director (to be appointed in charge of gas distribution), in as far as the powers are exercised in Sarawak. Amendments may have to be made to the federal Act 501, though,” he said.
He also told the august House that he thanked the state administration for their vigilance in its representation to the Parliament earlier this year to insert a sub clause 4A (2) in the national Gas Supply Act 1993 to exclude the application of that federal legislature to Sarawak.
“We must always remind ourselves, that we have lost too much of our state rights and privileges in the last 53 years and we must always be guarded that Sarawak must not concede any more of our state autonomous powers, rights and powers, whether innocently or negligently.
“At the same time, we should not have the delusion that this Bill has anything to do with devolution of power from the federation to Sarawak. The distribution of gas in Sarawak is exclusively our right, and this Honourable Dewan has been empowered by the Borneo
States (Legislative Powers) Order 1963, to make laws on its distribution and we are doing just that,” he said.
Source : The Borneo Post Online