‘Politics need not dominate oil royalty talks’

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says the issue of oil royalty needs to be discussed professionally between Petronas, representing the federal government, and Petros, which represents the Sarawak government.

He said politics must not be too dominant in the discussion, which was now ongoing between the two parties.

According to him, the discussion started following the Federal Court decision in June to dismiss Petronas’s proceeding to obtain court declaration to have exclusive ownership on oil and gas resources in the state.

Abang Johari delivering his speech.

“We leave it to professionals, let it be done professionally…politics must not be too dominant in the discussion. To me, let it (oil royalty) be discussed based on our right and how we benefit from oil and gas industry for the sake of the country and how Sarawak, which has the rights, can participate in the oil and gas industry…let it be discussed professionally,” Abang Johari said yesterday at the ‘Chief Minister with the media: The way forward’ event at Grand Margherita hotel here.

He pointed out that he would not want to make comments on the oil royalty as it could jeopardise the ongoing discussion.

“I do not want to be trapped into this argument (oil royalty) because there is now discussion between Petros and Petronas…I do not want to jeopardise their discussion, and Petros is exerting our right…let them work together,” he stressed, adding that the Sarawak government has the right to have regulatory control over its oil and gas.

Abang Johari also informed that whatever decision reached at the discussion would be referred to the federal government by Petronas, and to the state government by Petros.

Having said that, the chief minister stressed that the 20 per cent oil royalty should be based on production and not profits.

Abang Johari (seated fifth left) with Uggah (fourth left), Masing (third right), Morshidi (third left), Abdullah (second left) and Sharifah Hasidah (second right) in a photo call with the media practitioners after the function.

He further pointed out that there had been no communication between the federal and state governments about the oil royalty.

Thus, he said the ‘5 plus 20’ formula as mentioned by state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Ching Chieng Jen was not from the federal government.

Chong, outside the Parliament on Monday, told reporters that while the five per cent royalty would be retained, the state would receive an additional 20 per cent in oil profits.

The chief minister also pointed out that when the state government rejected the offer in a memorandum sent by PH Sarawak to his office before the 14th general election, PH was not the government, adding that that memorandum was just from the party.

Abang Johari also stressed that the state would continue to fight for its rights based on rule of law as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Federal Constitution and Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958.

“If that is our rights, that is our rights…nothing more, nothing less,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said there was a good working relationship between the federal and state government as demonstrated by the visit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and several federal ministers to Sarawak.

He said the state government would support any policies made by the federal government, if they are good for the state and the people.

Abang Johari (left) taking question from Abdullah Saidol on stage. Abdullah is also the moderator for the event.

Source: http://www.cm.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/pages.php?mod=news&sub=news_view&nid=2189