Thursday, March 21

Oil review panel headed by Pairin proposal

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PENAMPANG: The Komulakan Movement of UPKO yesterday proposed a committee on oil revenue review to be formed within the Sabah Barisan Nasional and submitted its resolution to the Federal Government.

“Almost every party including BN component parties talked about review of oil royalty but we are not sure whether it had been discussed formally and thoroughly,” said its chief, Ewon Benedick.

“We have heard both sides of the bench proposing an increase in oil royalty from the present rate of 5% to as much as 20% and at the same time maintaining the amount of allocation the state received annually from the federal government. But is there any committee being formed to discuss about this?” he further said.

According to Ewon, issues related to Sabah’s natural resources had become one of the major issues and the people of Sabah were hoping to get a better deal.

“Therefore we are proposing a formal committee comprising all the state BN component parties and be chaired by Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Pairin,” he said.

Ewon, who is also UPKO Kota Belud deputy chief said Pairin together with then Chief Minister of Sabah during BERJAYA era, Tan Sri Harris Salleh signed the Petroleum Agreement that gave Petronas executive rights to explore and develop oil and gas in Sabah. Consequently, Sabah is only getting 5% of the oil royalty annually from Petronas.

“We believe Pairin was well aware of the agreement he signed and its consequence. It is only right to give him an opportunity to sit with the other BN leaders in a formal committee and discuss the need to review the agreement he signed,” said Ewon.

“We have heard a similar committee being formed to discuss the Kelantan and Terengganu request for royalty increase and method of payment. Why can’t we have a special committee for Sabah and Sarawak also?” he further said.

Ewon, who is also a member of UPKO Supreme Council further said the people of Sabah want to see Petronas play a much bigger role in the state development including its corporate social responsibility programmes.

“Petronas has made a significant contribution to the other states. It is developing the industry in Sabah, but we should be getting more from Petronas. Perhaps Petronas can contribute more to the development of KDM College in Tambunan or contribute to the development of more student hostel in the rural schools or even contribute to the rural youth’s economic development,” said Ewon.