By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, July 16: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan has disputed Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How’s claim that Sarawak’s current negotiations with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and the federal government was about the State Sales Tax (SST).
Awang Tengah in a press statement today clarified that the on-going negotiations were for the Sarawak government, Petronas and the federal government to reach a commercial agreement on oil and gas (O&G) matters.
“The present negotiations are intended to realise the following objectives.
“(It is) to allow the state to reclaim its regulatory role in oil mining in Sarawak, to increase its share of revenues from O&G produced in Sarawak, to obtain greater investment opportunities in downstream business, such as in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) Plants in Bintulu by the State Government and Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), to ensure more opportunities for Sarawakian companies in O&G industry and to guarantee a greater allocation and more secured supply of gas to meet the gas requirement of the State to be determined by a Gas Master Plan which is currently under preparation as well as to grow the Gas business in Sarawak,” Awang Tengah who is Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources said in a statement.
Awang Tengah added that those discussions were conducted with due recognition of the rights of the state under the Federal Constitution and on the understanding that the objectives would be achieved without going through the legal process.
He added that in the event that any legal or constitutional issues should arise, these would be referred to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Consultative Committee for deliberation.
On June 12, Awang Tengah was appointed as the chief negotiator for the state government to negotiate with the federal government on how Sarawak could participate in the O&G industry.
Last Tuesday (July 14), See resigned from the Sarawak Legislative Assembly consultative committee in protest over the state government’s handling of negotiations with Petronas to settle the SST.
He reportedly said the consultative committee appointed a negotiating team on June 10 to participate in the negotiations with Petronas and the federal government so that it could better advise the DUN on the issue. —DayakDaily