Oil royalty issue can’t be viewed in isolation, says PM

(The Star) – Noting that oil royalty issues cannot be looked at in isolation, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak described the promises by opposition leaders to increase oil royalty to up to 50% for Sabah as an election gimmick.

The Prime Minister said that the royalty rates had to be viewed in the context of total government revenue and in terms of the percentage of budgetary allocations for Sabah as well as other states.

“If you take away 20% or 50% for royalty, it means that the allocation for the ministries meant for Sabah will be reduced,” he told the media after officiating at the ground-breaking of the RM4.5 billion Petronas Chemical Group Berhad‘s Sabah Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) project here.

Opposition figures including PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had reportedly said he would increase Sabah’s oil royalty from five to 20 per cent, while Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan went even further by promising 50 per cent.

Najib drew the attention of the media to the Opposition’s other promises, such as reducing fuel prices, waiving PTPTN education loans and doing away with tolls.

“Where will they get the revenue to run this country? You can’t just promise something in isolation, you have to take everything in total context,” he said.

Najib said the Barisan Nasional government would provide sufficient allocation for the development of Sabah under various development and transformation schemes.