By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 16: The nearly RM4 billion racked in by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg via the State Sales Tax (SST) for petroleum products is an extra income on top of other revenue sources for Sarawak.
Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division president Datuk Richard Wee said that had Sarawak not imposed the SST in the first place and subsequently successful in collecting the taxes, there would not have been any earnings or contributions from this sector.
“As such the people should be thankful to the Chief Minister for this achievement whereby at least he managed to get the national oil company to pay up the taxes.
“By paying up, it also demonstrated that all petroleum-related companies exploring oil and gas within Sarawak’s waters recognised Sarawak interests, Oil and Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, and rights (Malaysia Agreement 1963),” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.
Hence, Wee opined that the amount of revenue gains from SST for petroleum products should not be compared with all previous years’ budget but starting from zero.
“If there is any comparison, it should not be compared with all the previous years’ budget.
“It should be compared to zero because it (SST) started from ground zero or from scratch. It (the comparison) should be zero to RM3.9 billion,” he explained.
Abang Johari, who imposed the five per cent SST on petroleum products effective on Jan 1, 2019, has enabled Sarawak to gain an additional revenue of nearly RM4 billion in 2019 alone.
To make comparison, Wee explained that the account should be compared with the same period of time rather than two years in comparison with one year settlement.
“To me, it is wrong,” he said of the various reports and opinions of late on the different figures of SST collected.
“There were figures (in those reports) which can be deemed as erroneous or wrong,” he added.
On the SST collected, Wee said that it provided additional income for Sarawak to embark on Abang Johari’s plans to further develop Sarawak especially the major infrastructure projects which the state government had announced and undertaken.
Moving forward, he hopes that Sarawak can continue to enjoy the additional income gained through the efforts of Abang Johari.
“As we are uncertain about the economic situation this year (2020) because oil prices are quite bad which meant income in this sector could be affected in the near future, nevertheless, we hope this additional revenue which Abang Johari has pulled in will be put to good use for the entire development of Sarawak,” he added. – DayakDaily