DAP whacked for asking Sarawak to buy stake in Petronas

(FMT) – Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen has been criticised for asking the state government to buy a stake in Petronas as proposed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

State tourism minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah described Chong as a “disgrace” to Sarawakians, adding that he was looking for an “exit” from his election promise to return 20% of the oil royalty and 50% of tax revenue collected from Sarawak to the state.

“Details of the cost to acquire a stake in Petronas have not even been deliberated but Chong is already asking the state government to buy it.

“Doesn’t he realise that Petronas has become what it is today because of the oil and gas resources from Sabah and Sarawak?

“Why would Sarawak purchase stakes from a company that has become rich with the resources it extracted from the state?” Karim told FMT.

Chong was quoted as saying on Friday that the idea of Sabah and Sarawak buying a stake in Petronas was “good” and that the states should not miss the opportunity to do so.

“For the Sabah and Sarawak governments to own a part of Petronas’ equity is a good proposal as the company has not only gained profit from both the states but also from its various operations worldwide,” he said.

It had also been reported that Chong had, in a speech at the state legislative assembly in 2017, promised that if Pakatan Harapan took control of the federal government, it would return 20% of the royalty paid on oil and gas production and 50% of the taxes collected from Sarawak to the state.

However, Putrajaya and Petronas said they were not able to increase the oil royalty from 5% to 20%, with Mahathir stating that a higher payout would “kill” the company.

Karim described the offer to sell a stake in Petronas to Sabah and Sarawak as an “insult” the people of the two states.

Yesterday, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg was also quoted as saying the state government did not not intend to buy a stake in Petronas.

“What is the point for us to buy a stake?” he asked at the launch of an event in Bau, adding that the state government would still not have a say in how Petronas should be managed.