KUCHING, Dec 9: SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang urges Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) as part of the federal government of the day to make clear to the people of Sarawak their stand on Petroleum Nasional Bhd (Petronas) filing a statement of defence in reply to the legal action taken by the Sarawak government for not paying 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products to the state.
Tiang noted in a statement that Petronas is the only oil company that has challenged Sarawak’s right to impose the said sales tax, while other foreign players in the local oil industry like Murphy Oil, Shell and Nippon Oil have already paid up the sales tax.
He asserted that Sarawak PH ought not to forget what they promised Sarawakians in their GE14 election manifesto, that they would increase oil royalty for the state from 5 per cent to 20 per cent once they became the federal government.
“Now PH is the federal government — where is our 20 per cent oil royalty? Is anyone from Sarawak PH fighting for Sarawak’s sales tax on petroleum products in the Cabinet?”
Tiang also agreed with Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali that Petronas’ decision to challenge the state government in court is akin to challenging the state’s constitutional rights to impose state sales taxes. Sharifah Hasidah on Saturday (Dec 7) revealed that Petronas had filed a statement of defence in court in reply to the state government’s legal suit.
Tiang claimed that Petronas is presently extracting oil and gas worth more than RM200 million a day within Sarawak’s territory, and that based on estimations by the state government, the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products could generate about RM3 billion in revenues annually for Sarawak.
“This would be one of the major contributing revenue (streams) for our state’s development that will eventually benefit our people,” he disclosed further
Tiang also alleged that Petronas is always subject to the control and direction of the Prime Minister under the Petroleum Development Act 1974.
“Therefore, one can only conclude that without the Prime Minister’s blessing, Petronas would not have filed a (statement of) defence against the lawsuit instituted by the Sarawak government on its sales tax on petroleum products,” he added. — DayakDaily