KUCHING, June 22: As much as 30 per cent of Malaysia’s net profits from oil and 60 per cent of the nation’s gross profit from natural gas comes from Sarawak.
This is a fact that Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang is pointing out to Petronas chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin who has threatened to resign as he disagreed with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over the latter’s plan to pay RM2 billion in sales tax to Sarawak.
To Lo, it is clear that Wan Zulkiflee failed to understand the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Wan Zulkiflee had said in public that Sarawak had ‘no legal competence’ to demand the sales tax and had also said that increasing royalties could make operating in Sabah and Sarawak unfeasible.
“May I remind him that in 2018, Petronas had raised its dividend payment to the federal government by 50 per cent to RM24 billion and paid an additional RM30 billion to the federal government in 2019 at the drop of a hat.
“He, as CEO then had no qualms handing that over then but is suddenly struck with a bad conscience when he has to hand over just RM2 billion to Sarawak in sales tax, to a state which lacks piped water and which not only produces the bulk of the nation’s wealth in oil and gas but is also responsible for his income and that of his many colleagues for the past 37 years because if there was no Sarawak, there would be no Petronas,” said Lo in a statement today.
Lo said it is regrettable that the top Petronas boss did not want to acknowledge that without Sabah and Sarawak, there is no Malaysia.
The Padawan Municipal Council chairman said Sarawakians are fully aware of the important role played in the formation of Malaysia but unfortunately, were given a raw deal.
“Sabah and Sarawak being rich in resources could only look and envy Peninsular Malaysia of its beautiful highways and first class infrastructures facilities when both Sabah and Sarawak should be enjoying equally good highways and infrastructures.
“Contrary to all that, there are still parts of Sarawak without basic water and electricity supply or internet connection,” he said.
Lo recounted that a statement of former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (Page 452 in Dewan Rakyat Debates dated 28 April, 1962) as follows:
“When the Borneo territories become part of Malaysia, they will cease to be a colony of Britain, and they will not be a colony of Malaya. I thought I had made it clear. They will be partners of equal status, no more and no less than the other States now forming the Federation of Malaya.”
He said it has been heartening to see that the new government led by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is open to honouring the spirit of MA63, the true intent and aspiration of Malaysia as envisaged by the Father of Malaysia, the Honourable Tunku Abdul Rahman.
“Under Pakatan Harapan (PH), we could only see broken promises while the present government is principled enough to deliver on what has been promised to Sarawak.
“To me, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is standing by his promises to Sarawak and he is honouring his promises to Sarawak. Had we still been under PH, it would still not only be dishonouring MA63, it would still be directing Petronas to take Sarawak to court,” said Lo. -DayakDaily