KUCHING: Judicial Commissioner Christopher Chin who is presiding over the case where Sarawak is suing Petronas for unpaid state sales tax, has reserved decision for Jan 23 on whether to recuse himself.
Petronas had applied for Chin to discharge himself from hearing the case.
Sarawak state attorney-general Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid told reporters Petronas had argued that Chin might not be confirmed as a judge if he were to decide against the federal government.
“As a judicial commissioner, his confirmation as a judge would depend very much on the prime minister’s advice. If he (Chin) was to decide in favour of Petronas, then he will probably get his confirmation and if he doesn’t, then he will not get his confirmation; that is their argument” he said when met at the Kuching high court here, today.
Talat said if this argument was applicable to Chin, then it should also be applicable to all other judges, including court of appeal judges, because their promotion depended very much on the prime minister as well.
Sarawak had imposed a 5% sales tax on its petroleum products on Jan 1 last year under the state’s Sales Tax Ordinance 1998.
However, Petronas is said to be the only oil and gas company operating in the state which has failed to pay the tax.
Sarawak has sued Petronas for unpaid state sales tax and penalties amounting to RM1.3 billion.