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Putrajaya’s proposed carbon trading law not applicable in Sarawak, says state deputy minister

Publish date: Thu, 23 May 2024, 10:56 AM

KUCHING, May 23 ― The federal government’s proposed Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Bill to be tabled in Parliament by this year-end should not be applicable to Sarawak much like the National Land Code, said Datuk Dr Hazland Abang Hipni.

The Deputy Energy and Environmental Sustainability Minister said the Sarawak government is of the view that state laws should govern the development of CCUS locally.

“The Sarawak government had passed the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022, and pursuant thereto, the Land (Carbon Storage) Rules, 2022 was enacted to regulate the use of land offshore and onshore Sarawak, the development of storage sites, the permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) on such sites and the monitoring of storage sites.

“The amendment in the Land Code and the Carbon Storage Rules are enacted in the exercise of Sarawak’s constitutional power over land and the use of land for carbon storage and that the boundary of the state extends from the coastline/foreshore to the seabed and subsoil beneath the high sea which forms the continental shelf of Sarawak,” he said in a statement.

He said land in the continental shelf, within the boundaries of Sarawak, is state land under the control of the state.

“No carbon storage sites can be developed, and no land can be used for storage of CO2 whether in onshore or offshore areas within the boundaries of Sarawak, without the approval of the Sarawak government,” he stressed.

He also said that Sarawak’s constitutional position with regards to the rights to regulate carbon storage on land within the state had been submitted to the federal government through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability on February 6 last year and that stand was reiterated during the Malaysia Climate Change Action Council (MyCAC) meeting on October 31 that same year which was presided by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“In view of this, the CCUS Bill proposed by the Ministry of Economy must not encroach upon the constitutional authority of Sarawak over land and land use including the use of land for the development of carbon storage sites and land used for permanent storage of CO2, and all matters incidental or related thereto,” he asserted.

Nevertheless, Dr Hazland said the Sarawak government remained committed to working collaboratively with the federal government on promoting CCUS.

“We welcome constructive consultation and engagement to align and harmonise federal and state laws in developing and enhancing the CCUS industry with the aim of achieving Malaysia’s net zero targets by 2050,” he said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said the Cabinet had tabled a memorandum to pave the way towards a comprehensive legal framework to implement CCUS initiatives.

He said the standalone CCUS Bill will be tabled by year end while pushing for bilateral agreements amid significant progress made by the government in CCUS implementation so far.

“The establishment of a comprehensive and holistic legal framework takes into account the cohesiveness of implementation, ability to attract high impact investments and means to manage risk and liabilities, which resulted in the consideration to establish a standalone CCUS Bill.

“Bilateral agreements are aimed to position Malaysia as a regional carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub to capture opportunities in the era of energy transition,” he said.

He also said that CO2 storage activities will initially focus on offshore areas before potentially being implemented onshore, and the suitability of utilising onshore storage is subject to a feasibility study to be conducted at a later stage. ― The Borneo Post

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