KUCHING: State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong said Petronas, like other oil and gas companies operating in Sarawak, has no issue in paying the five per cent State Sales Tax (SST) on petroleum products but is being held back by the federal government’s silence on the matter.
“They came to us and asked us not to sue them. They said ‘OK’ to pay SST but they are waiting for the federal government to give them the instruction to pay,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
He said officials from Petronas had come to Sarawak to discuss the matter with him, the Controller of SST, State Planning Unit director and the State Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“We have told Petronas that they have three options in the effort to solve the problem since they said SST will affect the profit or dividend they can give to the federal government,” added Fong, who declined to reveal the three options offered to Petronas in the effort to solve the impasse.
“That is for Petronas to disclose.”
Fong said assuming Petronas was to pay RM3 billion in SST, the sum would only be nominal compared to the RM231 billion in taxes the federal government received from various schemes.
He said the federal government would not be sacrificing much just by paying RM3 billion compared to what it yielded for this year.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who was also at the press conference, said Petronas officials had also met with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and appeared to have no issue with the SST.
Sharifah Hasidah, who is in charge of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring, also agreed with Fong that the RM3 billion in SST requested by Sarawak was ‘not extraordinary or unreasonable’.
Both Fong and Sharifah Hasidah mentioned that over the years, Sarawak had contributed a total of RM660 billion from the oil and gas sector to the federal government’s coffers.
This RM660 billion in toto did not include the RM40 billion per year from the profits of liquefied natural gas production in Sarawak, they said, adding the federal government’s action over the SST issue defeats the purpose of its Shared Prosperity Vision.