Saturday, January 29

Terengganu rep concurs with Adenan on oil royalty, rights

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s persistence in fighting for oil royalty and rights of Sarawakians such as the freezing of work permits of Petronas personnel from outside the state has earned him praise from a Terengganu assemblyman, Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently, the Batu Burok assemblyman said as a Terengganu citizen, he was compelled to write to Najib after reading the official statement issued by Adenan after his meeting with Najib and Petronas chief executive officer Datuk Wan Zulkifli Wan Ariffin in Putrajaya.

The meeting was held after Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas announced that the state government had with immediate effect ‘frozen all new applications of work permits from Petronas staff from outside Sarawak, especially from Peninsular Malaysia’.

“What attracted my attention was the seven-point ‘amicable agreements’ that were reached between Datuk Seri (Najib) as the prime minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Petronas.”

Among the agreements reached were the appointment of a Sarawakian, represented by State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, as Petronas board member and the advertisement of 192 vacancies in the national oil company in local newspapers, to be filled by Sarawakians.

Additionally, Petronas would have to negotiate with the state government if the local candidate was not suitable for the position.

Petronas would also provide 50 positions for Sarawakians to further their studies in Universiti Teknologi Petronas, apart from providing intensive technical training and enrolling more Sarawakians in the company’s training centres throughout the country.

Besides increasing the number of Sarawakians in Petronas in management division, manager and executive and non-executive positions by 2020, the state government’s claim for higher oil royalty from five to 20 per cent would be discussed later.

“Congratulations to the Chief Minister of Sarawak as well as Sarawakians. However, after going through these ‘seven amicable agreements, I as the son of Terengganu felt very challenged with this latest development.”

Compared to Sarawakians, Dr Syed Azman said the people in Terengganu had lost all their rights and most of them had to face with constraints in life even though Terengganu was an oil producing state and one time was known as ‘Malaysia’s Kuwait’.

He said from 1978 under Clause 2 of the royalty agreement as required by the Petroleum Development Act 1974, the Terengganu government had been receiving royalty from Petronas, with RM5.7 million as the first payment.

However, Dr Syed Azman said the royalty payment in cash to Terengganu under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 was abolished on Sept 5, 2000 and replaced with contribution from the federal government.

What was more sad, he said, was that Petronas had on Sept 25, 2015 officially notified the state that it was no longer legally bound to make cash payment to the state under the agreement signed between Petronas and Terengganu government.

He opined that in light of this latest development, it was also reasonable for Terengganu to be given the ‘amicable agreements’ reached between Najib as prime minister, Petronas and the Sarawak state government.

Dr Syed Azman’s 10-point claims were somehow quite similar to the seven-point ‘amicable agreements’ reached between Najib, Adenan and Petronas.

The additional three claims made were for the oil royalty to the Terengganu state government which was agreed under Clause 2 of the royalty agreement signed between the Terengganu government, federal government and Petronas in 1975 be returned; immediate return of the Terengganu government’s right on ‘Bertam Oil Well Block 307’ that had been given to Pahang and return all Terengganu oil royalty of RM1.5 billion used by the federal government to implement various development projects in other states.