Sabah keeps up oil royalty hopes despite budget constraints

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal at a briefing by Shell Malaysia chairman Iain Lo (right) in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal remains hopeful that the state will obtain a 20% royalty on petroleum production as promised by Pakatan Harapan, despite constraints on the national budget as stated by federal leaders.

Shafie noted Sabah was one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the country but received less in comparison to what it has produced.

“We are aware of the financial constraints at federal level but we need the money because Sabah is among the states lagging behind in terms of infrastructure development.,” he said.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said earlier this month that “legacy issues” from the previous government were preventing the implementation of oil royalty promises to Sabah and Sarawak made in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

Shafie said the 20% figure was “one of the promises they have made under their manifesto – 20% is not that much compared to what they (federal government) have realised all this while”.

He said state leaders were “in constant talks” with federal leaders about how best to realise the promise. “I have indicated to Lim and hopefully it would be attainable,” he told reporters after a visit to the Sabah Shell office here today.

Shafie said the state government was aware of complaints by Sabahans that the state was not receiving what it deserved.