Sarawak sues Petronas

Petronas Twin Towers, a major tourist attraction — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, Nov 21: The Sarawak government has filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim against Petronas at the High Court Registry in Kuching today.

According to a statement from Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring, Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, the claim against Petronas is to recover the five per cent state sales tax on petroleum and petroleum products.

“As have been mentioned several times before this, Petronas have not paid the state sales tax for petroleum products under the State Sales Tax Ordinance 1998, which is due to the state.

“As a result, the state government is left with no choice but to commence legal action for the recovery of the unpaid taxes due.

“The Comptroller of the State Sales Tax, Sarawak and the State Government have therefore filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim at the High Court registry in Kuching, today, against Petronas to recover the sums due,” she said.

Yesterday, DayakDaily had confirmed with a reliable source that Petronas is owing the Sarawak government about RM1.29 billion in sales tax on petroleum products for the first half this year.

The source added that other oil companies such as Murphy Oil and Pertamina have paid their five per cent sales tax to Sarawak.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was reported as saying on Tuesday that Petronas’ non-payment on the state sales tax was not discussed during the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) special steering committee meeting in Putrajaya.

The meeting, which took place on Monday, was chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

It was reported that the MA63 steering committee decided that issues surrounding oil and gas royalties and cash payments for petroleum and gas extracted from Sabah and Sarawak will be discussed separately next month.

In Sharifah Hasidah’s statement on Tuesday, the meeting will take place between Dr Mahathir, Abang Johari and Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Petronas was given up to Oct 31 this year to pay the 5 per cent sales tax imposed by Sarawak on its petroleum products. Earlier this month, Sarawak government issued a Notice of Assessment to Petronas to make the necessary payment.

Petronas chairman Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh was reported as saying last week that the company remain in discussion with the state and federal governments over the matter.

In his winding-up speech at the recent Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, the chief minister said that Sarawak is expected to earn some RM3.9 billion from the sales tax. — DayakDaily