Abdul Karim: PH should stop lying, make good on 20pct oil royalty pledge to Sarawak, Sabah

(Borneo Post) – Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah urges the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to make good of their pledge listed in their election manifesto, which is to grant 20 per cent oil royalty to Sarawak.

“You pledge 20 per cent oil royalty and after the winning the general election (in 2018), you back out from the pledge, that means you are a liar,” said Abdul Karim at a press conference after the opening ceremony of 10th Asian Bird Fair 2019 at Kuching Waterfront here today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the federal government now realised it was not “workable” to give 20 per cent oil royalty payment to Sabah and Sarawak at a dialogue session with fund managers at JP Morgan headquarters in New York.

“There were many things stated in the manifesto which was due to lack of knowledge of the actual problem. Now that we’re in the government, we’re discovering that if you give 20 per cent to the two states, then Petronas will no longer become the international oil company that it is,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.

The Prime Minister is currently in United States to attend the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Presently, Abdul Karim said Sarawak is only entitled to five per cent of oil royalty while the rest goes back to the national oil company, Petronas, and the federal government.

He pointed out the federal government is already imposing a 38 per cent petroleum income tax, stipulated under the Petroleum Income Tax Act (Pita) 1967, besides receiving revenue through oil royalties.

“You can just give part of it (of the 38 per cent petroleum income tax) to Sabah or Sarawak. Its not a big deal,” he said.

Abdul Karim also said its unreasonable for Mahathir to comment that Petronas might no longer be an intentional oil company if 20 per cent oil royalty is indeed given to Sabah and Sarawak.

He opined that the national oil company has achieved a certain level and scale whereby their brand had a presence in many Indo-China countries.

“Don’t tell me that if 20 per cent of oil royalty is given to Sarawak, it (Petronas) cannot be called an international company anymore.”

Abdul Karim reminded that Sarawak is a founding partner of Malaysia when it was formed in 1963 and not that the state that had joined the federation as misunderstood.

He felt there was an over-centralisation of power in the federal government’s administration and it would be better if there was some form of devolution of power that could be given to the state government and return the rights of the state that have been eroded.

“Things change. We cannot be static. The five per cent oil royalty cannot be static also.”

Abdul Karim said the state government is only asking for the commitments as promised by the PH federal government.

“This is your pledge (of awarding 20 per cent oil royalty to Sarawak). We are just asking you to commit to your pledge,” said Abdul Karim.