KUCHING, Dec 26: Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) asserts Sarawak can no longer afford to continue paying for Malaya’s economic development and to cover its losses through gas subsidies and Petronas’s profits from Sarawak’s oil and gas production.
Sarawak, according to SPG, also cannot continue to pay for Petronas’ failures, losses and writing off of its overseas ventures, while sacrificing Sarawak’s own development and economic parity and equity for future generations of Sarawakians.
“Therefore, SPG believes that it is only proper for the Sarawak government to offer to relieve Petronas of this burden by the amicable return of Sarawak’s petroleum resources and assets to Sarawak, its rightful owner.
“SPG strongly believes that Sarawakians can certainly do better at managing Sarawak’s own petroleum resources than Petronas,” according to SPG in a statement today.
SPG further pointed out that seeking redress through the courts is not the only legal option left to the Sarawak government and that it should relentlessly pursue all options, legal and political, until resolution to Sarawak’s full satisfaction.
“The present lop-sided development, inequality and uneven distribution of wealth must end, and SPG pledges to do its utmost to help the Sarawak government to achieve this objective.”
Meanwhile, responding to the recent statements by Petronas CEO Tan Sri Wan Dzulkiflee Wan Ariffin in the media, SPG claimed that these statements “have put forth rather false and misleading information”.
“One of these is that Petronas only makes a profit margin of 3.7 per cent from its local oil production, which would appear to be with regard to deep water operations, that at the moment only constitutes a small part of Petronas’s local operations, while most are still in shallower waters.
“This is therefore not a coherent justification and in fact a disingenuous argument for not being able to pay more to the petroleum-owning and producing states.
“Petronas as an operator in other countries is in fact committed to pay more than it does to Sarawak. It is also in fact grossly misleading in the overall scheme of Petronas’s profits and the Malaysian petroleum regime,” SPG emphasised.
SPG further asserted that the real reason for Petronas being unable to pay Sarawak more is that the federal government does not want to reduce its 92 per cent take from petroleum revenues.
“As a matter of fact it is the Federal Government’s demands on Petronas that have weakened Petronas. Combined with weak leadership, it’s a recipe for disaster. This trend continues as last year Petronas was forced to pay ‘special dividends’ of RM30 billion to the federal government.
“As a result of the long years of abuse by the federal government, Petronas is now unable to meet the legitimate demands of the petroleum-owning and producing states like Sarawak.
“This is a legitimate and pressing concern for us, even as the federal government is asking us to ‘buy-back’ what we have vested in good faith over the years, yet (Sarawak is) receiving a pittance and sacrificing our own socio-economic development, which continues to lag behind,” according to SPG.
SPG believed that fair play and equitable treatment must be the order of the day.
“After all, the federal government has been taking the lion’s share of Petronas’s profits to cover its poor economic policies and mistakes, even to this very day.”
SPG reiterated the bigger picture, that its stance, and that of the Sarawak government as well, is based on the inequitable distribution of wealth and continuing poor management of Sarawak’s oil and gas resources that is the genesis of the situation which now manifests in Sarawak’s current disagreement with the federal government and Petronas.
“To say or imply in any way that Sarawak’s demands are driven by short-term objectives or simply wanting larger royalty now is an oversimplification and misinformation that certain parties have put forward to mask the genuine and legitimate concerns of Sarawak that underpin SPG’s and the Sarawak government’s position,” SPG asserted. — DayakDaily