Chong’s support for Sarawak govt’s move against Petronas a political gimmick

Sim Kiang Chiok

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KUCHING, Nov 25: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak Chief Chong Chieng Jen’s statement in supporting the Sarawak government’s action in suing Petronas is just a political gimmick, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Stakan Branch chairman, Sim Kiang Chiok.

To Sim, Chong’s reaction to the Petronas issue was “questionable” as the latter is in the PH federal government and a deputy minister and that Chong should know that Petronas is under PH’s total control.

“If he (Chong) truly cares, then as a Sarawakian, he would have demanded the federal government to pay the (state) sales tax in the first place and do his patriotic duty,” said Sim in a statement today.

Sim said he was sceptical about Chong’s action and wonder whether PH Chairman and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as the federal cabinet would even listen to Chong on the matter.

“If Chong could have the cooperation of the PH federal government on the matter, he could have easily saved the Sarawak government the unnecessary trouble of going through the legal process to collect our Sales Tax.”

Sim believed that for Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak has been forced to support the move taken by Sarawak government to “retain some of their dignity”.

Sim said Sarawakians must thank the State government for being responsible and prudent in their administration which has resulted in Sarawak having over RM32 billion in the State reserves to sustain current expenditure despite the delay in payments from Petronas.

Citing the promises of 20 per cent oil and gas royalties, 50 per cent return of income tax collected from Sarawak and 30 per cent development fund from the annual federal budget for Sarawak and Sabah, Sim
said DAP has been misleading Sarawakians and DAP has not been fulfilling their promises.

He urged Chong to stop being a Malayan agent and apologise to Sarawakian after which Chong should make Sarawak his priority.

Last Thursday, Assistant Minister Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said in a statement that Petronas had not paid the state sales tax for petroleum products under the State Sales Tax Ordinance 1998 which was due to the state.

As a result, the state government has been left with no choice but to commence legal action for the recovery of the unpaid taxes due

The five per cent state sales tax was imposed on Jan 1 this year and Petronas has been said to be the only oil and gas company operating in the state which has yet to pay the tax. — DayakDaily