By Peter Sibon
KOTA SAMARAHAN, Sept 22: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today clarified that the RM3 billion State Sales Tax (SST) paid by Petronas and its subsidiaries is meant for Sarawak’s overall development and not just for state-owned international schools.
“I was wrongly quoted. What I said was, part of the money you get, out of the RM3 billion, will be for development; of course education is part of it. You don’t use all of the RM3 billion (for the international schools),” Abang Johari said at a press conference after officiating the ground-breaking for the State Farmers’ Organisation new RM20 million office here today.
He was commenting on a recent news report by a local daily which had stated the state government will spend the entire RM3 billion in SST paid by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) only for the development of the state’s international schools.
Sarawak received the SST from Petronas amounting to RM2,956,671,407.36 on Sept 17 after both sides agreed on an out-of-court settlement.
Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari who is also the Finance Minister said Sarawak can now be more aggressive in developing the state with the extra revenue from SST.
“With the extra income from our SST, we are now able to build nine bridges at one go. This is history for us,” he said.
He pointed out that once the nine bridges are completed in the next five years, Sarawak’s coastal area will be well connected from north to south, and thus, provide greater mobility for the people.
“This will transform the rural areas in Sarawak especially the coastal areas. So, when we have better road connectivity, we can then provide amenities such as electricity and water supply to our people too,” he stressed. — DayakDaily