KUCHING, Dec 15: Owning shares in Petronas may sound good for Sarawak, but at only one per cent, the state will have very little to no say at all in the board and management matters, opined former Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy info chief Datuk Peter Minos.
If the one per cent is estimated at RM8 billion, Minos believed it is not only financially unsafe to buy, but also not worth the price.
He was responding to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir’s recent statement that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government could sell Petronas shares privately to states such as Sarawak, Sabah, Terengganu and Kelantan where the company has most of its energy assets.
Petronas, the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the federal government that has a debt pile of more than RM1 trillion.
“The so called offer and proposal by Mahathir to oil and gas producing states in the country in acquiring Petronas’ stakes is a trick. Even if the federal government is in deep financial debts, it is not our concern as we have no say in how they got into such a mess.
“Tricking Sarawak into buying one or two per cent of Petronas shares will not solve the problems. Instead, it may out our state into a financial logjam to even buy just one per cent,” Minos opined.
He viwed Mahathir’s proposal as a tunnel for the federal government to avoid and escape fulfilling its 13th General Election manifesto in paying the 20 per cent royalty pledged to Sarawak.
“Petronas has been milking oil and gas from Sarawak since 1974 and after making billions of ringgit, it now appears they are saying ‘Help me by paying for your shares from me’,” he asserted, calling for caution against Mahathir’s offer.
Although the PH government had promised in its election manifesto to increase oil royalty paid to Sabah and Sarawak from five per cent to 20 per cent, Mahathir was reported as saying Putrajaya was not able to fulfill its promises as it would ‘kill’ the oil company.
“The basic and fundamental issue here is that promises and pledges were made, open and publicly to Sarawakians, and it must be fulfilled. Otherwise, PH as the ruling federal government cannot be trusted in anything they say or do,” Minos asserted. — DayakDaily