Masing: PH Sarawak’s support for 20 per cent oil royalty tantamount to betrayal

Tan Sri James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, March 10: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) believes that state Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) agreement with its national manifesto to grant 20 per cent oil royalty to Sarawak is tantamount to betraying Sarawak’s right.

Its president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing expresses disappointment that state PH has agreed with the national manifesto where one of the promises was to increase oil royalty for Sarawak from the present five per cent to 20 per cent.

He said this part of the opposition coalition manifesto was outdated and legally flawed.

“PH’s election manifesto of claiming 20 per cent oil royalty from Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad) upon winning GE14 (14th General Election) is based on the assumption that Petronas has the absolute right to extract oil and gas in Sarawak waters and land.

“The Opposition, it seems, is not keen in fighting for Sarawak’s rights over its resources. Even when the Federal Constitution spells it out in no uncertain terms, and the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) said it so clearly in his address when launching Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Berhad) that (the power to issue the) licence to mine our resorces lies with the state government,” said Masing in a statement today.

Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister said the state opposition should join the state government in fighting for Sarawak’s rights and support Abang Johari’s stand, instead of saying that Petronas has the right to mine in Sarawak and demanding 20 per cent oil royalty from Petronas.

“Such a stand by the opposition is outdated at best and a faulty legal argument at its worst! (Establishing) Petros’ right to extract our resources is the best move,” said Masing.

He said whether Sarawak would stand to get more than 20 per cent oil royalty from Petronas, if Petros extracts its own resources, was another issue.

“The real issue, which the opposition should support, is that we have the rights, not Petronas, to mine our resources,” said Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister.

He believed the fact that the opposition in Sarawak was still supporting the 20 per cent oil royalty payment means there is “more than meets the eye”.

“Federal opposition parties are in support of Petronas’ claim over Sarawak’s resources for selfish reasons. The federal boys know the danger if Sarawak is right in its legal argument as oil and gas resources will not be within their control.

“The sad thing is that Sarawak DAP and the Sarawak opposition parties agree with the federal boys’ argument. Their stand is tantamount to betrayal towards Sarawak rights,” said Masing. — DayakDaily