Saturday, August 24

Let Sabah have all 10% oil royalty – Upko

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Tangau (right) in a show of unity with fellow Barisan Nasional top leaders from Sabah and Sarawak during SUPP’s 55th anniversary in Kuching on Friday night.

KOTA KINABALU: United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) yesterday urged the Federal Government, which is receiving a five per cent share of the oil royalty from Petronas, to instead give it to the oil producing states.

“We in Upko have been saying all along, there is an urgent need for Sabah, being an oil producing state, to be given more than the five per cent share it is getting at the moment. I wish to reiterate our party congress resolutions for several years now, that the most practical solution is for Putrajaya to give its share to Sabah. This is doable,” said Upko acting president Datuk Madius Tangau.

The total amount of oil royalty paid by Petronas to the government is 10 per cent, namely five percent to the Federal government and five percent to the oil producing State governments.

“That had been the practice, and notably, without jeopardising the economic and financial viability of Petronas all this while. Upko is therefore of the opinion, it is possible for the Federal government to hand over the five per cent to the respective State governments, especially Sabah and Sarawak. Ideally Petronas should give us 20 per cent,” he added.

“The better option is for Petronas to allocate a respectable equity to the state government in any of its subsidiaries. The other concern for Sabahans is the need to leap frog their participation in the oil and gas businesses as well as job opportunities,” he said.

Tangau, the Member of Parliament for Tuaran, however pointed out that the sustained economic and financial viability of Petronas are valid concerns for the country.

He said this to reporters yesterday after returning from Kuching where he attended the 55th anniversary of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) held on Friday night.

Petronas Senior Vice President (Upstream Malaysia) Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib had on Wednesday said, increasing cash payments – often called oil royalty – for Sabah will have an adverse effect on the national oil and gas industry and possibly render it no longer viable.

He said investors might think twice to come to Malaysia and invest in the oil and gas sector, which is already becoming a highly competitive industry among the oil producing countries.

Tangau said, “I have the opportunity to exchange views with fellow leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties last night, including about the recent statement by Petronas. Upko certainly concurs with Sarawak leaders on this particular issue, and in many other concerns.

“The struggles of political parties in Sabah are not unlike their counterparts in Sarawak. This is an open secret. Our geographical proximity and our background give rise to similar aspiration; similar but not the same though. But being neighbours, there is that special bond we have and will continue to treasure such.

“Sabah and Sarawak are among the founding members of the formation of the then new nation, the Federation of Malaysia. This is a fact, this is history.

“In these Merdeka months, and later our Malaysia Day on September 16, it is in order for us to look back, take stock of our journey as a nation and subsequently consolidate our resolve for the betterment of our beloved country,” he added.

He said, Upko respected the non-interference policies among political parties but this does not mean they cannot have a win-win collaboration. They have been doing so for a long time, and they will continue doing so.

When asked further about the Upko position on other issues raised by Sarawak such as development allocation, religious freedom and the state autonomy, Tangau said, “We have openly stated our stand on these issues several times. Today, suffice for me to say, Upko concurs with the pulse of the people and we will continue to fight for what is due, from both the State and the country. We are with the people and government of Sarawak in many ways.”

Tangau cited examples when Upko former president, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the then President of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Tan Sri Leo Moggie and SUPP President, Tan Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui supported one another especially when they were members of the Federal Cabinet.

“Such collaboration can only be further enhanced,” said Tangau, adding the Kuching trip enabled him to meet up with many Sarawak leaders, including SUPP secretary general, Senator Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian, president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Tan Sri James Masing and Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who was the event’s guest of honour.

“Upko is certainly gaining encouragement and support from these fellow top leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties from Sarawak.

“Of course we often meet when Parliament is in session but more so when we attend the regular BN Supreme Council meetings chaired by the Prime Minister,” he added.