Guan Eng denies delaying oil royalty payment to Sabah, Sarawak

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng with Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has denied opposition claims that Putrajaya is delaying the payment of oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak.

He said he was personally committed towards delivering the Pakatan Harapan promise in its election manifesto.

“But if we do it now when we don’t have the capacity, how can you talk about sharing prosperity when there is no prosperity to share?

“If let’s say there’s no 1MDB, no losses of RM150 billion, and then we don’t do it, then you can say it’s delaying tactics,” Lim said at an event here.

Earlier, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah accused Putrajaya of using legacy issues as an excuse not to deliver the 20% royalty promises to Sabah and Sarawak.

This followed Lim’s statement last week that legacy issues from the previous government were preventing the implementation of promises under the PH manifesto.

Lim said the government would create “prosperity” first before implementing promises to Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the federal government had never been more clear in its manifesto on Sabah and Sarawak’s oil rights.

“Yet, we are being criticised for having done that. We just hope that time is given for us to restore the fiscal balances,” he said.

Lim said there will be a clearer picture of the country’s financial health by the time the next budget is tabled.

Meanwhile, Lim announced an additional budget of RM78 million for the repair of dilapidated schools in Sabah this year.

He acknowledged that the RM10 million allocated previously was insufficient, with only 79 schools repaired at a cost of about RM100,000 each.

“Hopefully the RM78 million will be utilised to repair between 30 and 35 schools,” he added.