If necessary, we will sue federal govt for unpaid oil royalties: Nik Aziz

(Suara Keadilan) – Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat has threatened to take the federal government to court if an agreement on oil royalty payments could not be reached.

“There is no reason for the federal government not to give the oil royalty to the Kelantan government because the oil rig is in Kelantan waters,” Nik Aziz told reporters on Tuesday.

“We will negotiate and if we cannot negotiate, we will take the matter to court, if not at the court here, to the international court.”

The PAS-led Kelantan government has issued a notice of claim for RM1 billion in outstanding royalty payments due to it. According to party officials, the full figure is closer to RM1.7 billion.

Their contention, initially rubbished by top Umno leaders, was given validity when former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah recently confirmed that such an agreement existed.

Said Razaleigh: I think it is a very straightforward issue. It shouldn’t be an issue because we signed the vesting deed agreement with all the state governments, including Sabah and Sarawak. And it’s very straightforward and very simple piece of legislation. Anybody who reads it will understand it without having to consult a lawyer.

“I don’t know what kind of politics they are playing. If I am chairman still of Petronas, I will pay without all the fuss. And I feel all the more it should be paid because I signed the agreement! There is no two ways about it. It must be paid.”

Tengku Razaleigh is the Gua Musang MP and a senior statesman in Umno.

Meanwhile, in a response to Nik Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the federal government had never neglected Kelantan.

But he shirked giving direct answers as to whether it would settle the oil royalties due to the state.

Said Muhyiddin: “We have not neglected Kelantan, as we have given an easy loan of RM600 million to assist the Kelantan government carry out its clean water supply projects.

“Actually, no state has been victimised or not given any allocation. In other words, the federal government has performed its responsibility towards the state governments. The BN’s policy is development for all.”