News alleging Petronas’ resistance to paying SST “disturbing”: Senator

Robert Lau Hui Yew

KUCHING, June 27: Petronas’ Board has to abide by the court’s decision and that of its chairman, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to pay the sales tax to Sarawak, says Senator Robert Lau.

“It is disturbing to read the news purportedly saying Petronas’ Board of Directors have opposed Muhyiddin’s decision for them to pay the Sarawak’s Sales Tax. I hope the purported sentiments of the board members as reported are not true,” Lau said in a statement today.

He opined that Muhyiddin’s stand to have Petronas abide and pay by Sarawak’s law was the correct decision.

“Muhyiddin is the chairman of the board and the company. The board members cannot override the decision. Petronas is legally and morally bound to pay the sales tax imposed by the Sarawak government,” Lau said, adding that Sarawak had obtained the court’s judgement against Petronas and therefore it was for Petronas to abide by the decision.

Since Petronas also operates in foreign countries and comply with their respective laws, Lau pointed out that the giant oil company has to comply with Malaysia’s domestic law as well.

“Morally, Petronas should be grateful for the wealth they have derived from the shores of Sarawak over the last half century. It will be good for the board members to travel the length and breadth of Sarawak to see how far the state has been left behind as compared to Malaya. One has to be grateful for the fortune and appreciate the contribution of Sarawak.

“One of the key arguments made by Malaya leaders to Sarawakians to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963 was that Sarawak would develop faster and be on par with the then Malaya in terms of development. That was the promise made by our country’s founding fathers to entice Sarawak (and North Borneo) to join in Malaysia’s formation. The people of Sarawak are asking only for what was promised and to treat us fairly,” Lau reminded.

However, much of Petronas’ profits continue to be derived from Sarawak.

He pointed that the oil and gas derived from Sarawak’s shore have been used to develop Malaya and yet Sarawak has been neglected.

“The mega projects like the Twin Towers and Putrajaya were bankrolled by this money. For decades, Petronas paid yearly dividends in tens of billions to the Federal Government,” Lau said, adding that last year, Petronas paid a whopping RM54 billion dividend while this year, RM24 billion to the Federal Government.—DayakDaily