PETALING JAYA: A Terengganu lawmaker, inspired by Sarawak’s push for a larger share of oil and gas royalties, is embarking on a signature drive to get his state a better deal for its resources.
Speaking to FMT, Batu Burok Assemblyman Syed Azman Ahmad said Terengganu needed to emulate Sarawak and beckon the Federal Government and Petronas to the discussion table.
Sarawak’s push for greater state rights, especially those pertaining to oil and gas, has been a cornerstone of Adenan Satem’s tenure as Chief Minister of the state.
Syed Azman said Terengganu had been shortchanged since 2000, when the five per cent oil royalty it used to get was withdrawn and replaced with the so-called “wang ehsan” provided by Putrajaya.
Petronas told the state government last year that it was no longer required to make any payment to the state under any agreement it had signed because oil fields more than three nautical miles from Terengganu’s borders were outside the state’s jurisdiction.
“As a son of Terengganu, I cannot accept this,” Syed Azman said. “I want to push for change.”
He said he had the support of at least seven Terengganu-based NGOs.
He said his signature drive would be done online and added that he would present the signatures to the Malay rulers once he had collected 100,000.
On Sunday, he published an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak on the issue and listed 10 “amicable resolutions” that he was seeking for Terengganu.
Among other things, the resolutions called for the following:
- The return of the five per cent oil royalty;
- The appointment of a Terengganu citizen to the Petronas Board of Directors;
- The annual provision of 100 places in Universiti Teknologi Petronas for students from the state;
- The involvement of Terengganu companies in the development of the petrochemical industry;
- The return of the state’s right to the Bertam Block 307 oil field, which has been given to Pahang; and
- A study on the possibility of increasing the oil royalty rate to 20 per cent.
Syed Azman also called for a long-term plan to ensure greater participation of Terengganu citizens at all levels of Petronas’ operations in the state by 2020.