Abang Johari spills beans on O&G SST negotiations

Abang Johari (centre) arriving at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of buildings of the Forum

By Karen Bong

MIRI, Dec 15: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari has hit out at ‘anak Sarawak’ who had kept silent and did not support the State government in asserting rights to impose the State Sales Tax (SST) during a negotiation with the previous Federal government.

In revealing this Abang Johari said the then Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng had questioned him over the State government’s intended imposition of the five per cent SST as the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) government viewed that it would increase costs and
affect the investment on the oil and gas sector.

“They said I must not impose the tax and yet there were ‘anak Sarawak’ in front (on the opposite side) of the negotiation table.

“I told them that is our right. Under the Constitution, we can impose Sales Tax and the percentage was up to us to determine and we imposed it at a five per cent,” he said in addressing the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of buildings of the Federation of Orang Ulu Associations Sarawak Malaysia (Forum) here today.

Abang Johari then suggested that the Federal government reduces the Petroleum Income Tax by five per cent to square off the increase in costs as claimed.

“You cannot deprive us of our rights. (But) In the end, they refused and kept quiet. There were anak Sarawak on the other side but they did not dare to support me, “diam saja, takut dengan bos”.

“This is what happened. We left and I sued Petronas in court. In the end we won,” he related the matters that arised in negotiations between the State and Federal governments in the past.

Abang Johari was thankful to the present Federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had agreed in their recent negotiations which led to the signing of Commercial Settlement Agreement (CSA) last week.

“Now we are able to participate in onshore and offshore activities in the oil and gas industry. This will certainly help to increase the revenue for the State.

“This is not for me but for the Orang Ulu and the rest of Sarawakians.

“We are lucky we are able to do this because we are on our own through GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) with our own spirit to go forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sarawak has secured its fair share of participation, opportunities and profit sharing in the oil and gas industry alongside Petronas following the signing of CSA on Dec 7 in Kuala Lumpur.

Sarawak now gets to enjoy a more equitable share of revenues from these resources, and be accorded with greater investment opportunities in both upstream and downstream sectors. — DayakDaily