Sarawak is seeking control over the airspace in the state through a constitutional amendment tabled in the legislative assembly today.
The Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022, if passed, will provide a new definition of the term “land”, in line with the National Land Code under the Federal Constitution.
“Section 44 of the National Land Code covers and includes the airspace above the land,” Sarawak deputy minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said when tabling the bill.
“Under Section 75A of the National Land Code, the state authorities in Peninsula Malaysia have the power to permit the use of the airspace above the state land.
“So the proposed amendments here would make the column of airspace above the land fall within the definition of land. In other words, this would make the airspace part of the land.”
Sharifah, whose portfolio covers law, the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and state-federal relations, said this would allow the state government control over the airspace as well as any related matters.
It will also allow the state government to ensure that the spectrum of airspace is used in accordance with its plans, especially for the establishment and improvement of Sarawak’s telecommunications infrastructure.
The bill would also provide for the use of land, both onshore and offshore, for the storage of carbon dioxide.
If passed, it would make Sarawak the first state in the country with legislation to enable industries, including oil and gas, to comply with international requirements, Sharifah said.
This is in line with the global strategy to reduce carbon emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, she added.
The bill was tabled following a joint agreement signed between Sarawak Shell Bhd and Petronas early this year for collaboration studies for carbon capture and storage opportunities.
The bill specifically seeks to amend Sections 37 and 213 of the Land Code.
The amendment to Section 37 would give Sarawak the right to regulate and control the use of its airspace as well as the use of land for carbon storage.
The amendment to Section 213, meanwhile, would empower the state Cabinet to set rules for the use of airspace and land for carbon storage.