Opposition members of the Sarawak State Assembly are unhappy with being deliberately left out of a Petronas briefing on its operations and revenue on Monday, held in response to the state’s call for its oil royalty payment to be raised to 20 percent.
The briefing was attended by Chief Minister Adenan Satem and his state cabinet ministers.
The state opposition leaders are furious about not being allowed into the meeting since they have been in the forefront in the push for the oil royalty increase, which was also in the state Pakatan Rakyat manifesto for the last general election.
In the May sitting of the state assembly, the DAP member for Kota Sentosa Chong Chieng Jen moved a motion on the oil royalty hike, but his motion was “hijacked” and tabled by a government backbencher.
Nevertheless, the 15 opposition members gave their full support to the motion.
Expressing deep regret over the exclusion of opposition members from the Petronas briefing, Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson See Chee How (left) said: “The motion the state assembly passed for the royalty for Sarawak to be raised from five percent was a unanimous decision.
“It was an opportune moment for Adenan to show that he is the chief minister for all, that he is able to lead a strong, non-partisan team, to discuss this most crucial matter with the federal government and Petronas.”
See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyperson, added: “We are naturally disappointed. I don’t know whether the highly gifted Petronas president and CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas was present at the briefing.
“I am hoping that our chief minister and his cabinet ministers had asked him about his highly contentious statement in the financial weekly The Edge on the ownership and control of petroleum in Malaysia.”
Opposition members kept in the dark
Shamsul had ruffled feathers when he said Petronas belonged to all Malaysians, and blamed Umno leaders for interfering in Petronas in an interview with The Edge.
See said the opposition members were also kept in the dark as to whether Adenan(right) and his cabinet colleagues raised other important issues, such as the demand for shares and direct participation for Sarawak in the production sharing contracts for oil and gas projects in the state.
“It is our understanding that the production sharing contract of MLNG 2 is up for renegotiation this year. It was certainly opportune for the chief minister and his cabinet to ask for a share of equity in this MLNG 2,” he said.
On the possibility of Petronas assisting in the development of education in Sarawak, he said the state government should ask Petronas to set up a branch campus of Universiti Teknologi Petronas in the state.
“This will ensure that more and better opportunities are available to Sarawakians to pursue knowledge and expertise for the advancement of engineering, science and technology in the oil and gas industry and other areas,” See added.