Tuesday, September 24

End of month deadline for Petronas

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Chairman of State MA63 Consultative Committee says national petroleum company has no choice but to pay 5 pct petroleum sales tax

Asfia speaking at the conference.

KUCHING: Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is given up to end of this month to pay the five per cent sales tax imposed by the Sarawak government on petroleum products which came into effect early this year.

Chairman of the State Consultative Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar said Petronas will have no choice but to pay for the sales tax given that the ‘constitution is on our side’.

“We have the leverage. It (the five per cent sales tax) is expected to be paid (by Petronas),” he said at a press conference following a two-hour briefing by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the DUN Complex in Petra Jaya here yesterday.

Abang Johari briefed the State Consultative Committee on MA63 about the latest position and scenario on the negotiations between the Sarawak government and federal government.

Asked what action would be taken if Petronas refused to pay the sales tax, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah chipped in: “If they don’t pay, we will bring them to court.”

To this, Asfia responded: “This is not from me, it’s from my brother (referring to Abdul Karim).”

Asked how Petronas had reacted upon being requested to pay the sales tax, Asfia said: “That you have to ask them. It is the first time we impose the five per cent sales tax.”

He believed that “they (Petronas) will pay”, reiterating that the Sarawak government is giving Petronas up to end of this month to settle the payment.

The five per cent sales tax on petroleum products is expected to generate revenue worth RM3 billion for Sarawak this year.

According to Asfia, the ongoing negotiations between the Sarawak government and federal government on the oil and gas issues, MA63 and other state powers are progressing well and should conclude by end of next month (October).

However, he said there are still some outstanding issues to be ironed out.

Asked what the outstanding issues were, he said: “We cannot disclose the details but they are progressing.”

When pressed for the ‘outstanding issues’, he offered a similar reply: “It is premature to disclose the details.”

He said the chief minister had briefed the state Consultative Committee on what had transpired at the ongoing negotiations with the federal government.

He stressed that the Consultative Committee and the DUN of Sarawak had been “informed and on board”, and not in the dark as far as the negotiations were concerned.

“The deadline (of the entire negotiations) is end of October and oil and gas is the main one (issue),” added Asfia.

Among those present was DUN Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala.