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Friday, July 20, 2018

20pct royalty or profit? Sarawak seeks clarification on PM's announcement

PETRA JAYA - Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg has requested clarification on whether the federal government will be giving the state 20 per cent of its oil royalties or profit.

“Royalties or profit? I don’t know, as I haven’t received any details yet. So, I don’t have much to say.

“I don’t want to be dragged into the issue,” he said.

Royalties and profit, he said, are two different things and it isn’t clear which Sarawak will be getting.

“So, it’s premature (for me) to comment further,” he told the NSTP at the Wisma Bapa here today.

Abang Johari was asked to comment on the announcement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Parliament yesterday, that all oil-producing states will receive 20 percent oil royalties.

However, he later told reporters at Parliament’s lobby that the states will get 20 per cent of profit from their oil sales.

Sarawak is currently receiving five per cent in oil royalties from the federal government, and raising the share to 20 per cent has been one of the struggles of Sarawak’s leadership over the years.

The state is seeking higher royalties to continue and expand its rural development programmes.

Four years ago, the Sarawak Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a motion to request an increase in oil royalties from the federal government.

Sarawak was promised 20 per cent oil royalties in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto during the 14th General Election.

By Goh Pei Pei

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