SIBU, Oct 6: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg criticised national oil corporation Petronas for adamantly trying to dodge the state’s 5 per cent oil and gas sales tax.
He said while other oil and gas companies operating in the state such as Shell and Murphy have paid their dues, Petronas is the only one which has not paid to date.
“Shell and Murphy have paid, only Petronas hasn’t, ‘bengkeng’ (stubborn). It is our (Sarawak’s) right to impose that tax. I follow the rule of law,” he said during the ‘Berambeh Ngan Abang Jo’ townhall session here this morning.
Abang Johari said the state needs the extra revenue from its 5 per cent oil and gas sales tax to fund the implementation of numerous infrastructure development projects such as the Coastal Highway and the various bridges spanning it, all costing about RM11 billion.
He said many of the bridge projects would take up to six years to complete, and so the state would be paying for the cost in stages each year, and not a lump sum as claimed by some federal ministers.
“People have been asking me, where do I get the money (to pay for the development projects)? Many of the projects would take up to six years to complete. It is not like I have to pay them all in a lump sum as claimed by that minister,” explained Abang Johari.
He said if every oil and gas companies operating in the state were to pay the sales tax, Sarawak would be able to earn an additional RM3 billion revenue per year, which would be used to fund all the development projects for the benefit of the rakyat.
“If they (Petronas) are not paying, there is another way,” he added, hinting at the ‘secret formula’ he had mentioned last month in Kuching.
Abang Johari also explained that while it is the rule of law for Sarawak to have the rights to implement taxes over its resources, he said the past administration may have missed it by an oversight.
“Last time it was not implemented, maybe the past administration forgot by an oversight,” he added. — DayakDaily