Issues with Sabah, Sarawak can be ironed out, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged foreign investors to invest in Sabah and Sarawak as they had good governance. (Bernama pic)

CYBERJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has assured foreign investors that the ongoing tussle between the federal government and Sabah and Sarawak on several issues, including oil royalty, can be ironed out towards a “win-win” solution.

Hence, investors should not worry about Sabah and Sarawak but should invest in both states which he said have good governance.

He said the federal government and the leaders from both states are able to hold discussions to iron out the situation, despite being on the opposite side of the government.

“We have talked to the leaders there, and the leaders are quite reasonable. The demand was made by some people who are still unable to adjust themselves to the federal-state set up.

“They still want to have their say in everything but the state leaders are not like that. I have talked (to) them (leaders from Sabah and Sarawak) and they agree that we should settle this problem through negotiations and find a win-win solution,” he said at a dialogue session organised by the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

Dr Mahathir was asked by a dialogue participant to provide clarity on the federal government’s relationship with Sabah and Sarawak, especially on the issues over oil royalty hike demand, MA63 rights, establishment of Petroleum Sarawak Bhd or Petros, and Trans-Borneo Highway.

He said: “Malaysia is a federation. The states rule themselves in certain areas such as land. But they feel that they did not get the full amount of money from the oil industry. We paid 5% (royalty) from oil production, which is a huge amount of money. They are asking for 20%. If we give them (oil-producing states) 20%, Petronas will cease to be (among) the Fortune 500 companies,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Sarawak is the richest state in Malaysia with a budget of RM11 billion compared with other states.

“The disparity between states has to be corrected. If we were to give more to Sabah and Sarawak, the disparity will be worse than the present. While we may have differences, we can sit down together and settle these differences,” he added.

Malaysia not ready for nuclear energy, says PM

Mahathir said Malaysia will not build nuclear power plants until there is a safe way to dispose of the radioactive waste generated. Malaysia did not have adequate knowledge in that field.

Dr Mahathir during the dialogue was asked about Malaysia’s vision on renewable energy sources, after a pledge by energy minister Yeo Bee Yin to have Malaysia increase its renewable energy use to 20% by 2025.

He said Malaysia was working on reducing the use of traditional energy sources. “We are trying to generate more power through solar panels. Also there is a possibility for us to export clean energy to our neighbours.

“We have a lot of space, we can even use the sea to install more (solar) panels, so the trend is towards that,” he said.