Pas wants full disclosure of oil royalty before KT polls

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

Sensing a Barisan Nasional (BN) campaign in the Kuala Terengganu by-election on the backfoot, Pas now wants details of Terengganu's oil royalty payments to be made public.

When Pas was in government in the state from 1999-2004, the party had filed a suit against the BN federal government after it withdrew the 5 per cent royalty and instead converted it at a lower quantum into Wang Ehsan (compassionate fund) for Terengganu citizens in 2000.

In June last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi announced that the government would revert back to the 5 per cent royalty and allow the state administration to manage the funds.

"Why the inconsistency? Tell us the truth of the matter. First there was no oil royalty but now there is," Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang told reporters in Parliament today.

He added that BN must disclose all details of the amount payable to the state as this was a core issue for voters in Kuala Terengganu.

The current by-election, said to be too close to call when campaigning began, now appears to be shifting towards Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Pas appears keen to press home on the issue of oil royalty in light of uncertainty with regards to the economy.

The party's research chief Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad added that there was a discrepancy between the RM7.364 billion that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Amirsham Aziz said had been paid to the state from March 2004 to March 2007 and the amount that the party has been keeping track of.

"Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said says there is still a shortfall of RM1.5 billion not yet paid but the actual amount is at least RM2.5 billion," he insisted.

The Kuala Selangor MP added that Ahmad said that the "issue is closed" so as to sidestep the issue.

Abdul Hadi further called for a special committee to be set up in the state assembly to study details of the RM7.364 billion claimed by the federal government.