KUCHING, Nov 7: Sarawak government has nothing to lose if it were to take legal action against Petronas over the non-payment of the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products.
Political observer Datuk Peter Minos said the state government has the legal and constitutional duty to sue Petronas, as it refuses to pay the sales tax.
“It is sweet music to the ears to that at long last, Petronas will be sued for not paying up the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products.
“If Shell and Murphy Oil, two foreign companies, had paid up their shares in respecting Sarawak’s Sales Tax Ordinance, why must Petronas play hard ball and being difficult with Sarawak?” he added in a statement.
Minos felt Petronas’ refusal to comply with the sales tax can be construed as the national oil company not respecting Sarawak and its laws. He also described Petronas as being arrogant by its conduct on the whole state sales tax affair.
“Petronas, if complying, fears that Sarawak will ask for more in the future. Petronas feels that it has no legal or moral obligation to pay up, and in paying up the dues, it means that Petronas is submitting to Sarawak and that could be hurtful to its pride,” he opined
On whether Sarawak can win the case, Minos said the state government has the legal backing to be victorious.
A victory in court will be a big plus to Sarawak and financially, would be a big morale booster, he continued.
Minos said that even if Sarawak were to lose, Sarawakians might interpret the whole process as the state government taking a stand.
“The Sarawak government is positively defending the state’s legal rights and standing up to the federal government for what is right and fair, that Sarawak cannot be bullied and taken for granted.”
Minos lauded the Sarawak Budget 2020 and urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg not to budge with its demand.
In the 2020 budget, the Sarawak government expected to earn RM3.491 billion from its sales tax, out of which RM2.878 billion is expected to be contributed from crude oil, liquified natural gas and other petroleum products. — DayakDaily