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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Pay the 20% Royalties as Promised Not Give Excuses

KOTA KINABALU - “With prejudice to ownership claims, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Federal government should just pay the 20% oil royalties based on gross production as promised in their PRU-14 Manifesto and not resort to flimsy and unwarranted excuses to delay its implementation” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan said in a press statement weighing in on the on-going dispute whether the 20% should be royalties or profit sharing.

After earlier agreeing to pay the 20% royalties, PM Mahathir started the controversy during question time in Parliament earlier in the week when he stated that the 20% royalties in the Manifesto was based on profits.

Of course, several PH leaders including those in Sabah as well as Warisan quickly jumped on the bandwagon and patting PH for agreeing to honour their Manifesto.

The euphoria of these leaders evaporated quickly and have remained silent and muted when Economy Minister Azmin re-affirmed that the 20% royalties was not payable as it would have a great impact on Petronas and the national economy.

Minister Azmin further added that the 20% profit-sharing would need an amendment to the PDA74 which would further delay its implementation due to the amendment.

Contrary to his explanation, Section 4 of the PDA74 clearly states that the cash payment payable is to be agreed between the Federal government and the State government concerned.  There is absolutely no necessity to amend PDA74 to allow the 20% profit share to be paid.

To ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians, the explanations put forward so as not to pay the 20% royalties based on gross production were mere excuses not to honour the PH Manifesto and to keep Sabah and Sarawak poor while the oil revenues remain in Petronas under Federal control.

Even if Petronas is to pay Sabah and Sarawak 20% based on profits, there can be no justification whatsoever for them to keep 80% of the profits considering that the oil and gas are extracted from Sabah and Sarawak.

For the Sabah government, regardless of whoever wins the pending court battle, in addition to insisting on payment of the 20% royalties based on gross production, they should re-impose regulatory control over Sabah’s oil and gas resources similar to the stand taken by the Sarawak government.

Any Sabah leader that does not seek the return of the ownership of Sabah’s oil and gas resources, does not insist on full payment of the 20% royalties based on gross production pending the return of the oil ownership and does not impose regulatory control over the exploration, extraction and exploitation of the oil and gas in Sabah, can be said to have failed to look after the best interests of Sabah and Sabahans.  Some would even call them as traitors to Sabah and Sabahans.

As a reminder, Sabah leaders should think about their future generations and ownership rights of Sabah’s oil and gas resources when pursuing the 20% oil royalties pending return of the oil ownership.

This is more so as the 12 PKR and DAP MPs from Sarawak and the 8 Warisan, 3 DAP and 3 PKR MPs from Sabah are kingmakers to determine the Federal government. Their combined 26 seats can deny the Pakatan Harapan in Malaya from being the Federal government.  If the 26 MPs were to withhold their support, the present PH Federal government with 124 MPs will collapse and may be forced to fulfill Sabah and Sarawak’s rights to continue to be the Federal government.

If they do nothing to secure the return of the ownership of Sabah and Sarawak’s ownership of their oil and gas resources, then PKR and DAP with Warisan are no different from the previous BN governments, that is being subservient to their political masters in Kuala Lumpur.

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