KUCHING, Sept 19 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan today said receiving RM2.96 billion in state sales tax (SST) payment from Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) does not amount to Sarawak surrendering its rights over oil and gas resources found within its territory.
She said it is based on Sarawak’s ability to impose the sales tax on petroleum products as provided for under Article 95B (3) of the Federal Constitution.
Kho said receiving the payment does not affirm the validity of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PD74) by the state government as alleged by Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen recently.
“SST and PDA74 are two separate issues,” she said rejecting Chong’s assertion that the payment also meant that Sarawak had surrendered its rights over oil and gas resources.
“If accepting the RM2.96 billion payment means surrendering Sarawak’s rights over oil and gas, then how about Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal threatening to sue Petronas for unpaid sales tax?
“Is Chong’s ally in Pakatan Harapan (PH) also surrendering Sabah’s rights? Why does he not say the same thing to Shafie?” Kho asked.
She said the state government is still negotiating with the federal government to resolve the PD74 issue and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA12) so that they are compatible with the state Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO58).
She said OMO58 is still a valid law even after the formation of Malaysia.
Kho asked Chong on the pledge to give 20 per cent oil and gas royalty and to return 50 per cent of the total tax collection in Sarawak when Pakatan Harapan came to power.
“When they were in power for 22 months, they failed to fulfil the pledge,” she added.
Yesterday, Chong had regarded the RM2.96 billion in SST payment from Petronas as a trade-off for the state’s rights over its oil and gas.
On September 17, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg received the payment from Petronas after it withdrew its appeal in the Court of Appeal challenging the validity of the Sarawak State Sales Tax Ordinance on the imposition of a 5 per cent sales tax on the export of petroleum products.