By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Dec 9: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo today proposed that the Sarawak government create an ‘Oil Minister’ portfolio.
“We are an oil producing country, and we are one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world. We believe there is much more of it in the South China Sea, which is within our territorial waters.
“So, it is very important that we have an oil minister, who is an expert. He has to be experienced and an expert in oil and gas matters, preferably with a legal background,” she told a press conference before delivering her talk on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and on oil and gas at a hotel here today.
Soo further suggested that the oil minister should be assisted by a group of specialists in oil.
“This portfolio will help us develop our oil and gas industry. The oil minister will be able to liaise with Petronas, and we call upon Petronas to be transparent in their dealings with regard to Sarawak’s oil and gas,” she opined, adding that such a portfolio was nothing new in oil-producing countries.
Nothing that the state Democratic Action Party (DAP) had been talking about transparency and accountability all this while, she said, “Petronas reports to nobody except the prime minister. We actually do not know how much oil and gas is flowing out of Sarawak. So now that PH (Pakatan Harapan) is the federal government, we urge state DAP politicians to urge our prime minister to be transparent and accountable.
“Petronas cannot be a shadowy organisation,” she said.
Soo reiterated that the state produced 800,000 barrels of oil a day with a price of slightly less than USD70 per barrel, currently.
She believed Petronas had hit a windfall, so much so that it is considered as “no big deal” when the prime minister asked them for RM30 billion.
“So, my question is what about Sarawak? The federal government already gets loyalty, taxes and dividends, and now they are going to get a bonus of RM30 billion, So what is our Sarawak government doing about it?” she asked, further arguing the need to have an oil minister to ensure the state received what it deserved. — DayakDaily