Sarawak BN backbenchers warn Petronas to treat state with respect

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KUCHING: The Sarawak Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) is upset that Petronas officials have apparently ridiculed some of the issues raised by the state government.

BNBBC Sarawak chairman Abdullah Saidol has asked Petronas to show a “more convincing level of seriousness when treating Sarawak’s demand”, according to a report in The Borneo Post.

Abdullah said Petronas should treat the negotiations on oil royalty between the state government and Petronas earnestly and with respect.

“There are many remarks, though I’m not sure whether they are true or not, about some senior officials in Petronas who ridicule our issues with Petronas.

“If Petronas continues to behave or act without a sign of respect for us, why should we be too lenient with them?” the Semop assemblyman asked in a statement yesterday.

The Borneo Post report said he expressed support for Sarawak Assistant Minister of Housing Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s call yesterday to Petronas to not take Sarawak for a ride and to not take the state for granted.

He said what really mattered was tangible results, although the federal government had shown a reasonable level of political will to support the state’s initiatives to secure more benefits from the oil and gas industry.

Abdullah was quoted as saying: “Don’t accuse us of being selfish because that attitude will cause us to be more critical of Petronas and that won’t benefit any party. All this frustration must be understood because of our eagerness to secure more development funding for the purpose of providing better development especially in rural areas of Sarawak.”

On a suggestion by Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) that a Joint Oil and Gas Development Authority be established to move forward negotiations on oil and gas rights, Abdullah was quoted as saying:

“We are in consensus with SPG on their suggestion about the formation of a Joint Oil and Gas Development Authority.

“But I believe currently there is already a joint task force between the state and federal governments and Petronas who frequently meet up to discuss all the relevant matters.”