Petronas challenging Sarawak govt lawsuit an embarrassment, says Masing

Tan Sri James Masing

KUCHING, Dec 8: Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing has found it embarrassing for Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), a national oil company, to refuse compliance with the state laws.

To make matters worse, Petronas even challenged the legality of Sarawak oil and gas laws, a region which it is operating in, which form the basis to the formation of Malaysia, he said.

He reminded that Petronas has been sucking on Sarawak’s oil and gas resources to the tune of about 85,000 barrel a day since 1974, while only giving back 5 per cent of its revenue per year to the state.

“It is smack on bullying by Malaya and Putrajaya on Sarawak as the oil and gas producer in the country,” Masing said in a statement.

He was responding to Petronas filing a statement of defence to challenge the suit by Sarawak government over non-payment of the state sales tax on petroleum products.

According to Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring), Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Petronas responded to the suit with filing an entry of appearance and a statement of defence late evening Friday (Dec 6).

Masing added that other foreign oil and gas companies operating in Sarawak have paid their dues by following the laws of the land in which they operate.

“I wonder if Petronas obeys the laws of the foreign nations in which they operate,” he said. — DayakDaily