Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem is not happy about the five percent royalty it has been receiving for the past 39 years for oil and gas tapped from that state.
"We are not satisfied with the five percent. We want a higher royalty in order to spur the state's development under the 12th Malaysia Plan," he told a Hari Raya gathering in Sebuyau yesterday.
Adenan added: "The state should participate aggressively in the oil and gas industry. We should not just stand and stare.
"The state government is still discussing with the federal government to increase the oil and gas royalty."
Despite much of the oil and gas coming from the shores of Sarawak, the state remains one of the poorest in the Federation of Malaysia, he said.
Its development in terms of infrastructure is 10 or even 20 years behind infrastructural development in West Malaysia.
“I want a bigger piece of the cake for Sarawak and we don’t want to be bystanders in the exploitation of our resources,” Adenan said.
His assertion comes in the wake of strong criticisms from Sarawak PKR and DAP leaders over the state's acceptance of a 10 percent equity offered by Petronas in the Malaysian Liquefied Natural Gas 4 (MLNG 4) deal.
CM draws flak
Adenan made the announcement of the equity participation last week, but did not state anything about the 20 percent royalty demand that the Sarawak Legislative Assembly had unanimously passed at its sitting in May.
His statement therefore drew flak from the opposition elected representatives who want the state to demand for an increase of the oil and gas royalty from the current five percent to 20 percent.
Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson See Chee How (left), who is Batu Lintang assemblyperson, said the state government should not be too happy to receive the 10 percent stake as it was entirely different from the 20 percent royalty increase that the state had been asking.
“The 10 percent is merely an investment, but is blown up to hoodwink the state government and Sarawakians into believing that Petronas is being generous,” See said.
“Surely the 10 percent stake in MLNG 4 will not be given free of charge, for we have in the past paid and invested RM30 million for the five percent equity in MLNG 1, RM40 million in 1992 for the 10 percent equity in MLNG 2 and RM40 million in 1995 for the 10 percent equity in MLNG 3,” See said.
Commenting on the same issue, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen told the state government not to be “penny wise and pound foolish” by being veered from the 20 percent oil and gas royalty demand.
“As the Opposition Leader in the Sarawak state assembly, I advise the BN government to hold firm to the unanimous decision of the Dewan Undangan Negeri in passing the resolution for the 20 percent oil and gas royalty for Sarawak,” said Chong, who is the Kota Sentosa assemblyperson.
“The Sarawak government should not be so contented about the 10 percent share in MLNG 4 and treat it as a substitute for our 20 percent oil and gas royalty demand. The offer is peanuts to what we have been rightfully demanding from Petronas,” he added.