TENOM: Sabah Barisan Nasional election chief Bung Moktar Radin doesn’t understand why Pakatan Harapan has pledged to increase the oil royalty payment for Sabah and Sarawak to 20%, claiming it could not be done.
Bung said increasing the oil royalty for the states was not easy as it involved pre-existing agreements with oil corporations, including international ones.
“We have done our research on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on oil royalty and there is no way we can get the 20% from the federal government,” he told reporters after a ceramah in this interior Sabah district today.
“The agreement was signed after our independence with international corporations, including big firms from outside the country.
“We didn’t have the expertise to explore and drill for oil last time, so we needed to sign agreements with foreign experts.”
The Sabah Umno chief said this complicated matters when it came to increasing the oil royalty payment from 5% to 20%.
And that is why, Bung said, the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, comprising Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and PBS, had pledged in its “Aku Janji” manifesto to create a Sabah Petroleum Council to look into oil and gas matters in the state.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad last year admitted that giving 20% to Sabah and Sarawak was not “workable” as it would mean that Petronas would no longer become the international oil company it was.
Bung, who is contesting the new Lamag seat in the east coast, said, however, there were other ways to get what is owed to Sabah.
“We will discuss with Petronas on this. So, don’t worry but let us govern the state first,” he said.
During BN’s campaign trail in Bongawan earlier, he said the proposed Sabah Petroleum Council was aimed at reclaiming what belonged to Sabah so the money could be used for education and other development projects in the state.
Bung is hitting the campaign trail, including Pensiangan in the heart of Sabah, to help BN candidates.
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