Chong: No one objected to Sarawak taking shares in Petronas during MA63 steering committee

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Dec 15: The idea of Sarawak participating in Petronas’ equity was mooted in the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) Steering Committee (SC) and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had no objection to the proposal, Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman Chong Chien Jen asserted.

Chong also disclosed it was further decided in the committee that the details on the state’s equity participation in Petronas will be discussed between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abang Johari and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Claiming it incongruous that some Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders to now turn around to claim ignorance about the offer, Chong in a statement today urged the former to stop playing politics when it comes to such serious matters on the proposed equity participation in Petronas.

“In fact, Sarawak’s equity participation in oil and gas production started with the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants with the Sarawak state government holding five per cent share in Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd, 10 per cent share in Malaysia LNG Dua Sdn Bhd and 10 per cent share in Malaysia LNG Tiga Sdn Bhd,” Chong explained.

In January, 2018, the Sarawak government acquired 10 per cent equity shares in Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd in Bintulu.

Chong further explained that in April 2018, the Sarawak State Financial Secretary (SFS) announced that the state government acquired another 15 per cent equity share in Malaysia LNG Tiga Sdn Bhd, increasing the state’s equity participation in the company to 25 per cent.

In the same announcement, SFS also mentioned that since 1983 till 2017, the Sarawak government has received a total of RM20 billion in dividends from its investment in the 3 MLNG companies.

If the shareholdings in the LNG companies can yield such good returns, likewise the shareholdings in Petronas, Chong opined.

“In fact, even during the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s time, he had been saying the Sarawak government should acquire an equity share in Petronas. But sadly, at that time, the then Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government refused to divest any portion of its equity share in Petronas to the Sarawak state government because the then BN federal government wanted to keep to itself all the lucrative dividends and revenue Petronas generates for its shareholders.

“That is why, when the notion of the Sarawak government acquiring an equity share in Petronas was suggested in the MA63 SC meeting, no one objected to it, including Abang Jo. All had agreed that the detailed discussion of the matter be referred to the separate meeting between Mahathir, Abang Johari and Shafie Apdal,” Chong disclosed.

He also claimed all this while, when the Sarawak state government had wanted an equity share in Petronas but was refused by the then BN government. He questioned why now when the PH government offers the opportunity, is GPS politicians objecting to the offer.

“It is thus obvious that GPS leaders are merely playing politics in claiming ignorance of the matter and objecting to the offer. My sincere appeal to them is that, whatever politics they want to play, do not put the future and interest of Sarawak in jeopardy by missing out on the opportunity to have an equity share in Petronas, which was also the wish of the late Adenan,” Chong added. — DayakDaily