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KUCHING, Dec 16: Pakatan Harapan Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said that Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah shot himself in the foot for rejecting the idea of Sarawak acquiring stakes in Petronas.
Chong who is also Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, claimed that the Chief Minister’s Office had actually confirmed that the chief minister had agreed in principle to the idea.
“The CM office further confirms that he has in principle agreed to the acquisition of a stake in Petronas.
“That is the reason why a separate meeting will be held between the prime minister and the two CMs (chief ministers) from Sabah and Sarawak,” said Chong who is also Deputy Domestic Trade and Home Affairs Minister.
He said if the idea or suggestion had been rejected in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee meeting, then no more meetings would have followed.
“Had the suggestion been rejected outright in the MA63 Steering Committee meeting, then there is no necessity to have a separate subsequent meeting between the three of them.
“Therefore, Abdul Karim has not only shot himself in the foot to reject the whole notion of Sarawak government acquiring a stake in Petronas, but is also seen to contradict Abang Jo’s (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s) stand made in the MA63 Steering Committee,” said Chong in a statement distributed to the media at 5.21 pm today.
Chong was responding to CMO’s statement which was shared with the media earlier which said that such a suggestion was not among the issues discussed in depth in the MA63 Steering Committee.
It stated that the the details on the matter concerning oil and gas was only deliberated in a separate discussion between the prime minister, the chief minister of Sarawak and the chief minister of Sabah.
“The deputy minister is therefore not privy to the detailed information with regards to the oil and gas share issues and not an authority to divulge any information on such a discussion, if any.
“ln addition, it must be noted that the purchase of stakes in Petronas’ subsidiary companies cannot be equated with similar purchase in the Petronas proper as the parent company.”
Sarawak has stakes in Petronas’ subsidiaries namely LNG and is an equity partner in SMDS.
As of today there has been no offer yet on the Petronas proper.
Abdul Karim had recently commented that for Sarawak to purchase a stake in Petronas was an “insult to the people of Sarawak”.
Abdul Karim’s comment came following Dr Mahathir’s suggestion that Sarawak may purchase stakes in Petronas instead of being given 20 per cent oil and gas royalty, as promised by PH during the 14th general elections. —DayakDaily