Aspirasi: Wan Zul deserves to leave for ignoring Sarawak’s constitutional O&G rights

Lina Soo

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, June 21: Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) believed that Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin widely known as Wan Zul deserved to leave his position for criticising Sarawak’s constitutional oil and gas (O&G) rights yet receiving high salary from the O&G revenues derived from Sarawak.

Its president Lina Soo believed that Wan Zulkiflee should be accountable for his comments to Sarawakians and opined that Petronas should cease to operate in Sarawak if it is unfeasible.

“Wan Zulkiflee had said that increasing royalties could make operating in Sabah and Sarawak unfeasible.

“He should resign because his fat salary comes from Sarawak’s oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) and for all that, Petronas refuses to pay the five per cent State Sales Tax of a meagre RM2 billion.

“Wan Zulkiflee had said in public that Sarawak had “no legal competence” to demand the sales tax and had also opposed demands from Sarawak and neighbouring Sabah – states  both on Borneo island – for bigger royalty payments.

“It is ludicrous that Petronas had no qualms paying royalty, dividends, corporate tax and extending cash bailouts to the federal government during its 44 years’ of existence.

“In 2018, Petronas had paid an additional RM26 billion and in 2019 another RM30 billion.

“To quit over disagreement to pay RM2 billion to Sarawak sales tax when the bulk of Malaysia’s oil and LNG output is sourced from Sarawak is laughable, when he should have quit sooner then,” she said in a statement today.

Soo stressed that Sarawak’s continental shelf belongs to Sarawak, along with all the oil and gas.

She asserted that the ownership and all economic rights over Sarawak’s O&G belong to Sarawak as the landowner.

Hence, she believed that Petronas should be treated just like any other oil contractors for instance Shell Malaysia Ltd, Murphy Oil Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation.

She believed there is no lack of international oil companies waiting in queue to explore, prospect and mine Sarawak O&G if Petronas deems it is unfeasible to operate in Sarawak.

“Today, Sarawak has many oil and gas talents with extensive experience in the industry who are capable of steering Sarawak’s petroleum industry.

“Our message is clear – we do not need Petronas in Sarawak if they think it is unprofitable to operate in Sarawak, and we believe Sarawak’s O&G reserves should be managed by Sarawak itself to develop Sarawak for the benefit of our own people.

“It is our soil and our oil,” she pointed out. —DayakDaily