Monday, March 1

‘Sarawak’s focus on recovering revenue from petroleum’


Sharifah Hasidah speaks to the reporters. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Sarawak is focusing on the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products as well as other arrangements with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to increase the state’s revenue.

According to Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Sarawak aims to recover some of the huge revenues that Petronas has made from the oil extracted from land within the state’s boundaries.

“What we want is to get back some of the huge profits Petronas has, from the oil that comes from our land within our boundaries. We are only concerned if the oil is extracted from our land within our state boundaries.

“So we want to get back little of that to the state, to develop our state further especially the basic infrastructure in the rural areas,” she said when approached by reporters at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.

She believed that Petronas was responding positively to the five-per cent sales tax imposed by Sarawak on petroleum products early this year.

“Negotiations are going on well, so we wait and see. We give them the timespan, so we will cross the bridge when we get there.”

On the recent remarks by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad about the 20-per cent oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak not being workable, Sharifah Hasidah said: “The Prime Minister’s statement is his statement, but we are focusing on enforcing and asking for the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.”

She reiterated that the Sarawak government was requesting for ‘some extra arrangements, commercial or whatever, with Petronas’.

“Because in the end, what we want is some of the financial success – profit and revenue – to be given back to the state,” she said.

Sharifah Hasidah stressed that Sarawak deserved a share from any natural resource extracted from the land within its boundaries.

“We only focus on oil mineral taken from our land within our state boundaries,’ she reiterated.

Nevertheless, she declined to comment about the 20 per cent oil and gas royalties to Sarawak as promised by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) during the 14th general election last year.

“They (PH) promised… But I don’t want to comment on that. We focus on the five-per cent sales tax on petroleum products, as well as financial review every five years under Article 112D (of the Federal Constitution).”

Sharifah Hasidah said Article 112D of the Federal Constitution stipulated that special grants to Sarawak ought to be reviewed every five years.

She added that the last time such review occurred was in 1969 – half a century ago.

“We want more. What we want is to gain part of the large revenue back to our state,” she pointed out.