THE CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION OF CONTINENTAL SHELF IN MALAYSIA
IN THE CASE OF THE MALAY STATES
Keywords:Malay States' Rights, Sovereignty, Continental Shelf, Petroleum, Watanic Jurisprudence
AbstractThe Malay states remain sovereign from the pre-Federation of Malaya in 1957 until today. They acquired external sovereignty through international recognition via membership of Malaya in the United Nations. International law recognises Malaysia's continental shelf, a federation comprising a few coastal states under UNCLOS 1982. A local issue close to this subject is the Malay states’ rights in the Federation of Malaysia over petroleum production within the continental shelf adjacent to their territorial waters. Hence, this paper examines a Malay state's rights over Malaysia's continental shelf. This study is a qualitative legal analysis using a case study design promoting the method of watanic jurisprudence. Therefore, the Federal Constitution, UNCLOS 1982, and various statutes are analysed to answer many related issues beforehand. This paper has found that the territorial waters of the Malay states cannot be limited to three nautical miles from the low tide line in pursuance of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 without strict compliance with Article 2 of the Federal Constitution. The legitimacy of the territorial limits of the Malay states' waters is essential as it determines their rights to the continental shelf and its petroleum production.
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