Friday, June 5

Discussions on oil royalties for Sabah, Sarawak still ongoing


Datuk Liew Vui Keong

KUALA LUMPUR: Discussions on the percentage of oil royalties for Sabah and Sarawak are still ongoing between the federal and state governments.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the decision on the matter would only be made after the final meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee set up to fine-tune the matter.

“Discussions on the issue of oil royalties were held in a separate forum involving the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak. The issue will continue to be discussed,” he said.

He was responding to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (BN-Kota Marudu) who wanted to know about the development of discussions on increasing oil royalties to Sabah and Sarawak discussed at a Cabinet Special Committee meeting set up to review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the Special Cabinet Committee set up to fine-tune the method of payment of oil royalty claims has been given six months for discussions and to come up with decisions.

Mohamed Azmin said this would give enough time to make recommendations before the final decision on how to increase the oil royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent could be carried out.

Liew said seven issues had been agreed upon. These include the demand for timber and forest produce export duties; distribution of gas and electrical regulatory power; implementation of Federal and State works projects; manpower; state authority on health issues; administrative management over Sipadan and Ligitan islands and agriculture and forestry issues.

In December last year, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad chaired the first special cabinet steering committee for a review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to restore the privileges to Sabah and Sarawak.

Among those who attended the meeting were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng; Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali; Works Minister Baru Bian; Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah; Transport Minister Anthony Loke; Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo; International Trade Minister Datuk Darell Leiking and Liew.

The delegation from Sabah included its attorney-general, Datuk Zaleha Rose Pandin and former attorney-general Datuk Stephen Foo, while the delegation from Sarawak included its Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and Deputy State Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala. Also present were Attorney-General Tommy Thomas; Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk David Wong and constitutional law expert Profesor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi. — Bernama