Saturday, January 25

SUPP Youth supports suit against Petronas

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Michael Tiang

KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth supports the Sarawak government’s move to file a suit against Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) for unpaid five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

Its chief Michael Tiang said the Youth wing was also in agreement with the statement by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali that the filing of a defence in court by Petronas is an act of challenging Sarawak’s constitutional rights to impose state sales taxes.

“Petronas is always subject to the control and direction of the Prime Minister pursuant to the Petroleum Development Act 1974. Therefore, one can only conclude that without the Prime Minister’s blessing, Petronas would not have filed a defence against the lawsuit instituted by the Sarawak government on its sales tax on petroleum products,” Tiang pointed out in a press statement yesterday.

He also said that so far Petronas was the only oil company that challenged Sarawak’s right to impose sales tax on petroleum products, while foreign oil industry players like Murphy Oil, Shell and Nippon Oil had already paid up the sales tax imposed without questioning Sarawak’s rights to such sales tax.

Tiang, who is also a political secretary to the chief minister, hence urged Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) to come forward to tell Sarawak people their stand on this matter as the government of the day.

He reminded Sarawak PH that they ought not to forget what they had promised to Sarawakians in their election manifesto for the 14th general election that they would increase oil royalty for Sarawak from five per cent to 20 per cent once they have become the federal government.

“Now PH is the federal government, where is our 20 per cent oil royalty? Is there anyone from Sarawak PH fighting for Sarawak’s sales tax on petroleum products in the Cabinet?” Tiang asked.

Tiang also pointed out that it is a fact that Petronas is presently extracting oil and natural gas worth more than RM200 million a day within Sarawak’s territory, according to various reports.

He also mentioned that according to the estimation made by the state government, Sarawak’s five per cent sales tax on petroleum products could generate about RM3 billion in revenue a year for Sarawak, which would be one of the major contributing revenues for the state’s developments that eventually benefit the people.

Last week, Sharifah Hasidah told a press conference that the state government would file a suit against Petronas for unpaid five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

The five per cent state sales tax was imposed on Jan 1 this year, and it is said thatPetronas is the only oil and gas company operating in the state which has not paid the sales tax.

On Nov 21, a writ of summons and statement of claim were filed by the Comptroller of State Sales Tax and the Sarawak government against Petronas at the High Court registry.

Petronas has responded (to the suit) by entering appearance and filing in their statement of defence.