PDP: Stop using national debt as excuse not to pay 20% oil loyalty to Sarawak

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, Sept 16: Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing is urging Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to stop using the national debt as an excuse to not honour Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) pledges to give 20 per cent oil royalties to Sarawak.

This excuse, he said, is as nonsensical as the PH’s dismal performance at the country’s helm since May 2018.

“If the country has indeed gone bankrupt, how can new government bonds be issued to the world, to the tune of RM51 billion in government sukuk (Islamic bonds) and RM7 billion in Samurai Bonds? Which person, bank or even nation in the world would be foolish enough to lend money to a government that is supposedly going bankrupt?” Tiong asked.

He believed that PH government is snowballing the national debt and yet, when it comes to the 20 percent oil royalties, Lim was passing the buck to the Treasury.

While the number of government bonds have been rising, Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP said the assets of the government strategic investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Berhad have evaporated since PH took power.

“It is a huge contrast to the BN government, which saw the relevant investment institutions increasing their net assets by RM82.3 billion from RM33.7 to RM116 billion between 2008 and 2017. However, under PH, the value of treasury holdings has declined by a staggering RM25 billion,” Tiong said in a statement yesterday.

Tiong said PH’s continual refusal to honour its election promise to return 20 per cent in oil royalties to Sarawak showed Lim’s penchant for going back on the latter’s words.

Lim had recently said that the federal government could not fulfil its promise of rightfully giving Sarawak its 20 per cent oil royalty because “the federal government could not afford it”.

“The reason given as to why PH cannot repay the royalty is due to the country’s debt even after they have been in power for close to two years. As usual, they put the blame on the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government. If Malaysia’s debt is huge, PH was voted in to focus on managing the debt.

Tiong also urged Lim to disclose the foreign investment inflows and the amount of profit due to the government as well as the exact amount of contribution Sarawak has made to the national economy within the past year.

Sarawakians have been left confused and unclear, Tiong said, because after Lim declared the country was going bankrupt, Lim generously announced a RM2.2 billion in development allocation for Sandakan.

Then, PH has plans for a flying car, a third national car project and restarting the third bridge to Singapore, Tiong added.

If PH still insists that Malaysia has gone bankrupt, Tiong believed that it is clear that the federal government has never had the sincerity in honouring its pledge regarding oil royalty payable to Sarawak. — DayakDaily