KUCHING: State PKR says former Prime Minister and Petronas advisor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s statement that the state’s request for oil royalty of 20 per cent is too much, is ‘insensitive’ to the sentiment of Sarawakians and an insult to the State Legislative Assembly.
PKR state deputy chairman See Chee How said Dr Mahathir should be more sensitive in view of the growing Sarawakian sentiment against the federal government.
“The federal government must pay heed to the motion calling for an increase of petroleum royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent as it was unanimously approved by the entire State Assembly,” he said.
See maintained that the 20 per cent was not a ‘magic figure’ nor a mere populist rhetoric, but a realistic figure which was the outcome of cautious deliberation and Petronas could afford paying that amount.
He added the higher oil royalty was needed by petroleum producing states particularly Sarawak and Sabah to accelerate infrastructural and social economic development in these two East Malaysian states.
The Batu Lintang assemblyman was responding to Dr Mahathir’s statement that for Sarawak to ask for 20 per cent of oil royalty ‘was too much’ in his keynote address at the opening of International Energy Week 2015 here yesterday.
“His statement that 20 per cent is too much to ask would certainly cause embarrassment to the state government and an insult to the State Legislative Assembly,” See told The Borneo Post yesterday.
As Dr Mahathir still held and wielded much power to influence the decision of the federal government and the Barisan Nasional backbone party, Umno, See hoped the former prime minister would understand that “Sarawakians are now demanding recognition and respect for their altruistic contribution the federation for the last 40 years, bleeding its most valuable natural resources”.
“It is unfortunate that certain political leaders from Putrajaya and those influential political figures like Dr Mahathir continue to ignore the facts that the East Malaysian states are unfairly treated and remain backwards in development and progress.”
“With his influence in Petronas, I would expect Dr Mahathir to speak fairly on the plight of Sarawakians who had given him much electoral support during his time as the premier of Malaysia.”
See added it was Pakatan Rakyat’s pledge to increase petroleum royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent for the petroleum producing states in Malaysia to ensure that these states would enjoy their well-deserved progress and development.
“We call on the state government to stand firm and be resolute in the demand for the 20 per cent petroleum royalty which has the full mandate of all Sarawakians.”