Azmin says oil royalty is not really royalty, as Wee points out dictionary definition

(The Star) – Pakatan Harapan’s election promise of giving a 20% “royalty” to oil producing states was based on a loose definition of the word, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

“The term cash payment is not used generally, but it is generally understood to mean a royalty.

“That is why when we drafted Pakatan’s manifesto, we used the term royalty, but not in the context of its dictionary meaning,” he said during his ministerial reply on the motion of thanks on the royal address in Parliament on Monday (Aug 1).

He noted that Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) did not refer to “royalty” as such. Rather, it referred to a “cash payment” of 5% of gross profit per barrel of oil.

He said that a special Cabinet committee had been formed to negotiate with the oil-producing states on how to increase the 15% payments to them, on top of the existing 5% under the PDA.

Earlier, Speaker Datuk Mohamad Arrif Md Yusof had to restore order in the House when Azmin was heckled by several Opposition lawmakers from Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah.

They insisted that Pakatan had reneged on its promise of giving 20% royalty on gross production of oil by Petronas.

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) said that Azmin was misleading the House.

Dr Wee stood up and read out the dictionary meaning of royalty, which was defined as being based on gross oil production.