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Continental Shelf Act 1966

Background

  • According to Section 2 of the Continental Shelf Act 1966 (Revised 1972),“Continental Shelf” means the sea-bed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond the territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of the land territory of Malaysia to the outer edge of the continental margin as determined in accordance with section 2B; or to a distance of two hundred nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured in accordance with the Baselines of Maritime Zones Act 2006 where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.
  • Under Section 4 (4) of the Continental Shelf Act 1966, the power to grant the licence to exploit sands in the area within the continental shelf is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. What is meant by the definition of the Continental Shelf area is an area which is situated outside the territorial waters of the States.
  • Under Section 4 (2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 7 of 1969 (Revised), gazetted as P.U. (A) 468/1969, for the meaning of Continental Shelf Act 1966, ‘territorial waters’ is defined as sea-waters adjacent to the coast not exceeding three nautical miles measured from the low water mark. This means that area outside three nautical miles measured from the low water mark are areas of the continental shelf and therefore, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment is the Minister that is responsible of it, under the Ministerial Functions Act 1969 and is given the power under Section 4 (4) of the Continental Shelf Act  to grant the licence for sand mining in a particular area.
  • It is therefore under the absolute discretion of the Minister as provided in the Section (4) (6) of the Continental Shelf Act to decide on the granting of  the licence and to grant any number of licences to the same person or company.
  • Article 3 (2) and (3), Government Gazette P.U. (B) 365/1985, Notification on Continental Shelf (Appointment of Forms and Fee)fixed that any application of licence to explore, prospect, bore, mine or to carry on operations for the getting of minerals of any specified kind in any specified area of the continental shelf under Section 4 of the Continental Shelf Act, shall be lodge to and processed by the Federal Land Commissioner.
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