Sarawak should have sued Petronas earlier — Chong

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Nov 22: Sarawak government should have filed its lawsuit against Petronas earlier, said state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

The Stampin MP and Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chief said proceeds of the petroleum sales tax have been budgeted as state revenue in the Sarawak Budget 2019.

With the end of the year approaching, revenue that was budgeted to be received by the state government in the past 11 months was not received, he explained.

“DAP supports the state government’s filing of legal suit against Petronas to determine its rights to impose sales tax on petroleum products.

“The issue whether the state government has the legal rights to unilaterally charge the five per cent sales tax must be determined by the Court of Law as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.

At the same time, Chong said he was perplexed on why the state took such a long time to file the legal suit to recover the money.

The Sarawak government filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim against Petronas at the High Court Registry in Kuching yesterday.

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.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, Chong also commended the effort of Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong to file a motion in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) to urge the state government to file the legal suit.

He said this included her subsequent “expose” of some of the state-owned Petroleum Sarawak Bhd’s (Petros) board of directors’ financial interest in Petronas’ contracts running to hundreds of millions.

“Her two-pronged action in the just concluded Sarawak State Assembly has put the state government on the spot, thus having no excuse to delay the legal suit,” Chong claimed.

However, Sarawak DUN speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar ordered parts of Yong’s speech, which “cast aspersions” on the mentioned characters, be expunged from the Hansard.

“For the sake of all Sarawakian, we wish every success in the legal suit,” Chong said. — DayakDaily