KOTA KINABALU: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin, in a statement today, questioned whether Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had been misguided when he had mentioned “selling” of stake in Petronas to oil producing states in Malaysia.
Chan was referring to Tun Mahathir’s reply at an interview with Reuters on Tuesday (10 December) that the Malaysian federal government is considering selling stakes in Petronas to states where the company’s oil and gas fields are, which would include Sabah.
“It is not right to raise funds for the federal government by way of selling Petronas shares to the state government. I believe that the Prime Minister, in his infinite wisdom, would be able to come up with many other creative ways to raise funds needed to settle federal debts,” said Chan.
Chan expressed his worry that Tun’s above statement might backfire if misinterpreted by the people, especially with the Kimanis By-Election coming up.
“It would be good if Tun as the coalition leader of Pakatan Harapan could consult with the Warisan-led Sabah state government before making any statements that may be easily misconstrued,” said Chan.
Chan, who is also DAP Sabah Secretary, said he believes what Tun had truly wanted was to suggest fulfilling Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto of paying 20% petroleum royalty or its equivalent to Sabah & Sarawak by way of transferring part of the federal government’s ownership in Petronas to the states.
“I would welcome it if Tun M intends to fulfil the promise of paying 20% oil royalty as stated in the PH election manifesto by way of transferring shares in Petronas to the state for Sabah. If so, Sabah state government should pay only a token of RM1 at most for the transfer of the shares in Petronas to them,” said Chan.
Chan said that the amount of Petronas shares to be offered to the state as alternative to the 20% oil royalty has to be at least equivalent to the percentage of petroleum produced by the state in the country.
“In fact it would be best if the dividend payable yearly by the Petronas shares to be transferred to the state government would be able to cover for the 20% royalty payment” said Chan.
Chan remarked that till now he still could not understand why the federal government kept on claiming that they could not satisfy the demand for 20% oil royalty.
“Just like GST repayments, the 20% oil royalty payments to oil producing states ought to be set aside specifically, probably put into a trust account, and not be used for other purposes,” said Chan.
Chan said that as at todate there are only four issues pending at the special Cabinet Committee on the review of the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and that these four are: oil royalty issues and petroleum cash payments; oil minerals and oil fields; Territorial Sea Act 2012; and state rights over the continental shelf.
Chan further added that as a member of the Technical Committee on the review of the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, he had done his part by giving relevant inputs during the meetings.
“The rest would be between the three wise men (Tun Mahathir, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari), and I believe that Shafie would bring back some good news for us Sabahans,” said Chan.