Idris calls on Chong to stop belittling GPS, harping on SST payment

Datuk Idris Buang

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Sept 20: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang has called on Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen to stop belittling the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government when his argument was inaccurate.

Idris opined that Chong was being irrational for asking the state government to return the RM2.95 billion payment of State Sales Tax (SST) by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to the national oil corporation.

He added that Chong and his DAP team have no credibility to talk about fighting for Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) when the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government did nothing to restore the rights of Sarawak when PH was in power for 22 months.

“Let me remind him that when PH/DAP were in the (federal) government, did they make any effort to address the controversial Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA 1974), by amending it or by repealing it?

“The answer is No. They could if they wanted to as they only needed a simple majority.

“But, they chose to do nothing. Why so? It is because, if they repealed or abolished the said PDA 1974, legally Petronas’s locus standi and its power or even existence as Malaysia’s national oil company would be compromised if not brought to a halt. That would not augur well for the PH government draining out billions of ringgits from Petronas to inject into its coffer, amidst the plaquing economy prevalent at the material time.

“It is well-known that when they (PH) were in power, the PH-DAP brought nothing back to Sarawak under MA63,” he said in a statement.

On the other hand, Idris, who is Muara Tuang assemblyman, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and GPS had achieved a very significant milestone in the state’s pursuit of MA63 rights from the SST payment of Petronas whether Chong likes it or not, adding that he must accept the fact.

He added the payment of SST by Petronas meant that the national oil corporation recognised its liability to pay SST to Sarawak as one of the oil and gas (O&G) players.

Idris said it was testimony that Petronas along with the other O&G players have taken cognisance of Sarawak’s sovereign right over its natural resources and to impose such tax.

“I am pretty confident that our state government would decide what is best for Sarawak and the future of its people,” he added. —DayakDaily