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KUCHING, July 30: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan today offered the state government 20 per cent of oil profits, on top of the 5 per cent royalty it currently gets.
This is the revised ‘new deal’ to replace the one that was offered to the state government before the recent 14th general election. That deal was rejected by the state government.
Under the previous deal, PH offered 20 per cent oil and gas royalties and also 50 per cent of the tax revenue collected in Sarawak. However, that deal comes with one condition: the state government has to assume full autonomy in all education and healthcare matters in the state and undertake the financial obligations of these two ministries.
In a press statement signed by state Pakatan Harapan chief Chong Chieng Jen and state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Baru Bian, it was mentioned that under the old deal, the federal government would top up any shortfall in the event the oil and gas companies could not afford to pay the full 20 per cent royalties.
It pointed out that because the state government rejected the old offer, the federal government was compelled to renegotiate the whole matter, and that was where the 20 per cent of oil profit controversy came about.
On the latest offer, the statement stated that, “On the 20 per cent oil profits, Sarawak can be rest assured that it will not compromise the present 5 per cent royalties.
“This (current) five per cent is an agreement between Petronas and the state government and cannot be varied unless the state government voluntarily gives it up.”
PH Sarawak described the latest offer as a “positive development” and is “far better than the arrangement by Barisan Nasional, whereby the five per cent royalties stayed stagnant for the past 45 years”.
The statement added that after fighting for 20 per cent of royalties all these years, the PH government had materialised this dream.
“Finally, two months after the change of government, there is at least additional revenue to the state other than the 5 per cent royalties agreed by the BN government that remained unchanged for 45 years,” said PH Sarawak.
It added that due to the lack of transparency and good governance and the practice of cronyism by the state government, as shown in the case of its land and timber policies, PH Sarawak would form a cabinet committee to discuss further on how to channel the funds to the people, to minimise the risk of mismanagement by the state government.
The PH Sarawak statement was released during a press conference on the sidelines of Parliament today. Besides Chong and Baru, others present included Julau MP Larry Sng, Sibu MP Oscar Ling, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Lanang MP Alice Lau, Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin and Saratok MP Ali Biju.
Meanwhile, Baru, in a message posted on social media, said the statement today was on Sarawak PH’s understanding. He believed there should be no problem with the federal government.
“The statement today is our standing of how the manifesto was drafted and should have no problem with government,” said Baru. — DayakDaily