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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, June 19: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing is glad if rumours that Petronas chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin has resigned due to his refusal to pay the 5 per cent State Sales Tax imposed by Sarawak since January last year are true.
“I hope the sources on the reasons why Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin resigned as Petronas’ chief executive officer are just part of the fake news which are flying around these days.
“However, If the reasons for his resignation are true, then I’m pleased that he resigned. We can’t have a head of an organisation which exploits our resources but isn’t willing to pay part of the revenue which belongs to us.
He was commenting on news report which quoted sources that Wan Zulfiflee had actually resigned for his post recently after a disagreement with prime minister over a plan to pay State Sales Tax imposed by Sarawak estimated to be more than RM2billion.
Petronas has been fighting Sarawak’s demand for the 5 per cent SST in court before the two parties announced a settlement last month.
Last week, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that Sarawak has appointed Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan as the chief negotiator for the State Government to negotiate with the Federal Government and Petronas on how best Sarawak could participate in the oil gas industry.
“Tax is one thing but what about our participation in oil and gas industry. That’s why the committee (under Awang Tengah) was set up so that we can participate in the oil and gas industry,” Abang Joahri told a press conference after chairing Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Supreme Council meeting here recenty.
Besides Awang Tengah, other members of the negotiation team are Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, State Attorney General Datu Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid, State Legal Counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong, director of Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel and Petros chief executive officer Datuk Sauu Kakok.
Abang Johari who clarified that the other negotiating team led by Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, which was appointed by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) State Consultative Committee (SCC) would tackle the legal aspects.
Besides Abdul Karim, four other members who were appointed by the committee are State Legislative Assembly deputy Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala, PBB information chief Dato Idris Buang, SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB)’s See Chee How.
SCC chairman and DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar had made the announcement that Abdul Karim will be its chief negotiator after chairing SCC on June 10.—DayakDaily