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Pakatan wants ‘seat’ on Sarawak oil committee

 | August 23, 2012

DAP warns Sarawakians not to be fooled by Najib Tun Razak and Taib Mahmud's 'play acting' over oil royalties.

KUCHING:  Pakatan Rakyat wants to  be included in any discussions on the review of oil royalties for Sarawak. The opposition coalition also wants Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to set up a committee to review oil royalties within a month.

“I urge the Chief Minister and the State BN to include us in the committee and to put aside our political differences so that we can join hands to fight for the interest of Sarawak.

“After all, it was the Pakatan Rakyat which mooted the idea of increasing oil royalty from the current 5% to at least 20%.

“If they do not include us in the committee, it goes to show that they are not sincere,” said Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen.

DAP is a member of Pakatan coalition.

Chong, who is both the MP for Bandar Kuching and the assemblyman for Kota Sentosa was commenting on Taib’s statement that it  would be better to hold private discussion on the increased oil royalty with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Taib had reportedly said that it was unnecessary to make public his opinion on the oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak if a direct talk with Najib could yield better results.

“That has always been the way how Sarawak deals with the Federal Government,” Taib had said.

Commenting on this, Chong said the committee should comprise both BN and Pakatan representatives.

“There are things that BN leaders like Taib and (Deputy Chief Minister) Alfred Jabu cannot ask from their political master (Najib), but leaders from Pakatan Rakyat can ask any thing as we do not owe our allegiance to Najib.

“We can be aggressive in our negotiation for the interest of Sarawak, and this, I believe, will produce a better deal for Sarawakians,” he added.

BN leaders’ turn around

Chong said that when Pakatan called for the increase in oil royalty for Sarawak, there were BN leaders who belittled them and accused the opposition of not knowing the operations of oil business.

The BN leaders, he added, said that Sarawak could not have 20% as this would bankrupt the nation’s coffer.

“The BN leaders used to rebut and refute our claims. But now there is a 180-degree about turn by BN to call for review on this oil royalty.

“This change of position is the result of sufficient political pressure and people’s powers coming from Sabah and Sarawak who are the kingmakers.

“But I must warn the people of Sarawak not be fooled by this play acting of Najib and Taib. This call for reported review is going to be forgotten after the general election if the BN remains in power,” he said.

On Taib’s idea of holding private discussion over the oil royalty, Chong challenged Taib to reveal his real intention why he wanted this negotiation to be carried out behind closed doors between him and Najib.

“This is a matter of public concern where public fund is involved. This is not the personal property of Najib and Taib,” he said.

Last year alone Sarawak’s royalty from oil and gas amounted to RM600 million, he said adding that this was a huge sum.

“We insist to be members of the committee in order to ensure that the negotiations are done in the most transparent manner. There is nothing secret about it,” he said.


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