Invisible hand behind Petronas’ decision of non-payment?

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 22: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has questioned the reasons behind Petronas’ non-payment of five per cent sales tax on petroleum and petroleum products.

He believed that there is an invisible hand behind Petronas’ decision.

“What I am interested to know is who discourages Petronas not to abide by the laws of Malaysia, and refuse to pay the sales tax of five percent.

“Foreign companies, like Shell and Murphy Oil paid their dues in accordance to the laws of the country in which they operate.

“Petronas should lead by example and follow the laws in which they operate. It’s embarrassing for Sarawak to sue its own national company. But we don’t have much choice,” Masing told DayakDaily.

Masing emphasised that it was an open secret that Petronas is a company controlled by the federal government.

“And the federal government has the responsibility under the Federal Constitution to protect and provide for its counterparts of Sarawak and Sabah.

“Instead of helping Sarawak, all Sarawakians see is exploitation to the maximum while they try to fool Sarawakians by giving back small percentage of development funds amid cancellation of much needed infrastructure projects to develop the rural areas,” he said.

With increasing awareness among Sarawakians and the rise of elite groups in Sarawak, Masing pointed out that the state will not continue to be “bullied” and “used” by federal government as the “milking cow”.

“But we are a civilised state. We only ask for what is ours. While Putrajaya fails to play its part, we Sarawakians who pride ourselves as fair and civilised and law-abiding citizens, will only request for the return of our rights in very civilised and fair manner,” he stressed.

The Comptroller of the State Sales Tax, Sarawak and the State Government have filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim at the High Court registry here yesterday.

The claim against Petronas was to recover the five per cent state sales tax on petroleum and petroleum products. The state sales tax for petroleum products has been imposed by Sarawak under the State Sales Tax Ordinance 1998.

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

On Wednesday (Nov 20), DayakDaily had confirmed with a reliable source that Petronas is owing the Sarawak government about RM1.29 billion in sales tax on petroleum products for the first half this year.

The source added that other oil companies such as Murphy Oil and Pertamina have paid their due to Sarawak.— DayakDaily