Limbang, Blocks L and M: Tell us the real deal


More questions have been raised on the reported surrender of Blocks L and M to Brunei during the Abdullah Badawi administration.

Kikeh field

Blocks L and M, not far from the Sabah coast, are reportedly referred to in Brunei as Blocks J and K or there is some kind of overlap in the Exclusive Economic Zone. This Block J alone is projected to produce more than 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day, which could double Brunei’s oil production.

Essentially, Brunei appears to have awarded the two blocks to Total and Shell prospectors while Malaysia awarded the same or overlapping blocks to Petronas Carigali and Murphy Oil. Murphy held a 60 per cent stake in Block L and a 70 per cent stake in Block M.

The two blocks, about 1.5 million acres each with water depths of 2,700-9,300 feet, lie next to the oil-rich 4 million acre-Block K, which was awarded in 1999 to Murphy (80 per cent) and Petronas Carigali. Murphy had reported that drilling in the Kikeh oil field in the southern part of Block K had yielded a “very significant oil discovery”. One report said it could reach 125,000 barrels per day.


According to Mahathir, in return for surrendering the two blocks (Blocks L and M), Abdullah negotiated with the Sultan of Brunei to get back Limbang – though Limbang was reportedly not mentioned by name in the letters of exchange: “No Petronas representatives were present, only foreign office staff and the foreign affairs adviser to the PM,” writes Mahathir. (Ironically, the Far Eastern Economic Review was sued in 1987 during the Mahathir administration for suggesting that there could be a “possible sale” of Limbang to Brunei.)

He adds in a blog post sarcastically titled ‘Malaysia’s generosity’:

As we all know Abdullah triumphantly announced that he had settled the Limbang claim with Brunei (here). No mention was made of the two blocks. Brunei disclaimed (here) that they had agreed to give up Limbang. The foreign office and Abdullah did not rebut Brunei’s statement. Now it is made clear that the two blocks are no longer a part of Malaysia.

Mahathir alleges Abdullah has caused Malaysia to lose at least US$100 billion dollars (about RM320 billion) of Malaysia’s oil in this agreement. “Can Wisma Putra please explain why it did not stop Abdullah.”

The exchange of letters between Malaysia and Brunei reportedly took place on 16 March 2009 – that is, 18 days before Abdullah stepped down as premier to make way for Najib.

The other big question is, why was Parliament kept in the dark about this whole affair. (Check out the confusion over  Limbang which I blogged about in March 2009.) Can you really go and negotiate a territorial dispute without the matter first being debated thoroughly in Parliament? This is what happens when the Executive thinks it is superior to Parliament and keeps it in the dark.

An independent inquiry needs to get to the bottom of this. Abdullah himself has to clarify exactly what the terms of the deal were. Not only that, the following also could shed more light on what happened: Petronas, Wisma Putra, the Brunei embassy and Murphy Oil.

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How i wish all the Indians are like Mr Pillai or Karpal Singh, very principled, cant be bought over no matter how high the price offered; And, all the Malays are like Azmi Sharom, what a gem !!! And, all the Chinese are like Lim Guan Eng, went to jail for the cause of a poor Malay lady (and the culprit was set free…); or my hero, Lim Kit Siang, fighting for justice all his life and never give up till today… Gerak K, … BN politicians siphon off millions and billions and u just keep quiet and because of… Read more »


Viva Malaysia…Malaysia Boleh !!!
Mahathir and Badawi are now both equal in terms of (allegedly losing) RM100 billion !!!!!
Congrats to UMNO…you are part of it !!
Now what has Najib,Rembau and … Ibrahim got to say?…
Badawi and Petronas Advisor have got to answer…


It seems to have escaped everyon’e attention that Mahathir was (and still is) ADVISOR to Petronas at the relevant time!! More than that, Hassan Merican, CEO of Petronas was (his) hand-picked appointee. So, how come (Mahathir) is taking Rip Van Winkle to task but pleading ignorance and mea culpa? Selective, apanam, amnesia gain? If this happened in the USA, thre would be a major Congressional hearing where (Mahathir), AAB, Hassan Merican, the Foreign Minister, Chief Sec to the Govt would all be (grilled) in a publicly televised open hearing. Did you see how Goldman Sachs’s CEO and top execs were… Read more »

Gerakan K

USA again ??? The best example you can give us ??? They still playing in Iraq + Afghanistan for false reasons.


It ‘s a good example because even a terrible USA still have people who grill the bad guys.
Do we have anybody to grill them in the better Malaysia?
Differentiate from right and wrong bah. Not all Americans are bad and not all Malaysian are good. Select the good system bah. If anybody still could not, then there was something wrong with the ways they were being taught.


1st Limbang then Labuan under MM. Then 1m acres for natives sold to West Malaysian companies by PBS. Then Block L & M by Pak Lah. Next BN can sell the islands, national parks, forest reserves, native customary lands and borrow till Malaysia become Bankrupt Nation…. also BN in short. Nobody to grill them is the best situation. Those who support thefts are also thieves themselves. Why divert to Americans killing muslims? Who said that is right to kill? WE are talking about our problem lah. Diversion is deception. Deception is deceiving. The deceiver is the liar and the Liar… Read more »


Does it have something to do with the incursion of Malaysia sub(s) into Brunei water “recently”?

I’m just curious!


In matters between states, why is that so much secrecy?
Now both parties have denied the existence of a pact to drop claims.

Our grand children and their children are going to pay for this “rahsia” one day.


The fellow is from which party ah? So which party man sell off Malaysia? They said the will defence Malaysia, apa terjadi now??


…this sort of … isn’t going to stop any time soon.


Datuk Zaid said that if you’re staying in a glass house and you threw a stone at mine….then I’ll hail a stone-storm towards yours!…Ya Zaid stand-up and it’ll definitely keep them at bay! Pak Lah did very well to accomplish things like that Limbang thingy and acts sleepy…Now Tun M had fired him left and right for years and this is (I suppose), the last salvo that Tun have. Can’t Pak Lah stand-up like Zaid? You would have heaps to retaliate since you were his deputy for years. I am not taking sides but just let the enquiries of Limbang… Read more »


The Sleepy Head has put his foot in his mouth. Petronas could have jointly developed the 2 blocks like what Petronas did for Thailand (that is another story as it involves the oil royalty to Kelantan). The area is called MTJDA (Malaysia Thai Joint Development Area) where Malaysia and Thailand are equal partners. MTJDA was debated and approved in Parliament. Sleepy head had no rights to sign away such sovereign rights without the approval of Parliament. Normally, where joint development is the choice for the exploration and development, they form a Joint Operating Company (JOC) for the blocks. Malaysia and… Read more »


Penang people, why worry now?

Havent all of you voted BN for the past 50 years?

Havent you all not happy with Lim Guan Eng?

Havent you all want to kick him out of Penang because he is not a Penangite?

Stupid Penang people, serve you all right !!!

Gerakan K

Of course we must kick out the dictator in next GE. Expect rising price of hawker foods because of polystyrene ban next year.

sri hartamas

Hawker prices in Penang are set due to market supply and demand. And the ban may keep prices unchanged or lowered if customers bring their own containers. The polystyrene ban is a far-sighted policy which sooner or later will take place throughout Malaysia. You don’t kick out Penang’s leadership because of a polystyrene ban. Thats extremely shallow and reflective of a low level of critical thinking.


Gerakan K, Wishful thinking is it not? Not as simple as you think. UMNO can only kick out this Government, with excessive gerrymandering in the mainland. Even so, there is no guarantee that they will win. You see, the political landscape has changed that much, we are never certain which way the votes may go to come the next GE. And Penang Malays are not that simple, as you think. Look at the many professionals holding high positions in MNC’s in Penang. They do not have to depend on the “tongkat mentality”. They are educated and competitive. And the beautiful… Read more »

Penang Voter

Was it a private sale or JV… ?


I think there is cause to suspect some hanky panky here. Whatever it is it smells fishy.



It might be a loss to the country but it is a blessing in disguise for the Rakyat of Malaysia.

Loss of Block J or K or L or M or whatever really doesn’t affect the Rakyat a bit, Anil. None of us gonna profit from it.

The more petroleum Malaysia has the more UMNO going to profit from it and the more $$$ UMNO has the longer they will hold on to power.


Think carefully, without the oil money, BN government start to looking poor rakyat pockets with VAT.

No leader in any country will giving out sovereignty rights so easily unlike this Bolehland.

Why spending billions on modern weapons if we are so generous to give island, oil reserves, etc. to foreign country?

What is next?…


I think Anil is addicted to censor comments.

I suggest you might well remove my posting instead of leaving another half.

I’ll take full responsibility for what I’m writing here. I hope this statement is good enough to protect you instead of deleting some comments.

Gerakan K

Naughty kid, please respect the blog owner. You as the guest please behave. Uncivilized comments are not welcome.


Anything to do with you?


VAT will be implemented, with or without the additional billions of barrels of crude oil.

VAT will be here because UMNO is greedy, and their greed knows no bound.

And oh, btw, don’t get frustrated. Anil is just being very very careful. He doesn’t want to end up like my dear friend, the late M.G.G. Pillai, who literally worried to his death because of the multi-million dollar suit by a certain … Chinese tycoon.


I have no strong objection against VAT provided our personal income tax rate is reduced accordingly. VAT mainly is to catch those qualified taxpayers who evading income tax. There are another 30-40% working people who supposed to pay tax, some of them are hiding in the kampongs. I did email MGG Pillai in late 90s asking about his 100-million dollar court case from a Mahathir’s crony. He replied me it just a piece of cake and he will never give up. Unfortunately I’ve never met him before he passed away. He also got no chance to see the political tsunami… Read more »


Our mutual friend, M.G.G. Pillai, was never rich to begin with. After being sued by that … (uh, Anil gonna censor it again) … M.G.G. met with a lot of closed doors.

News agencies that used to work with Mr. Pillai all got scared, and thus, that suit did affect his income, a lot.

So much so that when his computer conked, he got no money to buy a new one.

Those were the years …


I’ll donate one of my three used computers to him if I knew he was financially strained after the suit.

He was proven right … after Lingam video incident was exposed.


Block L & M were allegedly traded off for the return of Limbang, in Sarawak. As usual, MM, had wanted to cast doubts on Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, questioning, how he had lost 100 billion USD in oil revenue in block L&M. What then is the cost of Limbang with a population of 40,000? Perhaps 200 million pounds in the early 80’s? The questions here is, how Limbang became Brunei’s property? … Good that this issue of Limbang is brought up by MM. At least the Rakyat has got a reason to understand the controversy of how Limbang was ceded… Read more »


In 80s, Mahathir denied he sold Limbang to Brunei.



You mentioned that Mahathir denied selling off Limbang to Brunei in the 80’s

Are you sure?…


I read Dewan Masyarakat and Asia Week since I was in form one. Therefore, I can remember many historical events since 70s including (the alleged) selling off Limbang scandal.

If my memory is correct, Far East Economic Review was sued by Mahathir for publishing this story.


It shall be Far Eastern Economic Review…