KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali today said that the government needs to recalibrate its finances first before it can pay the balance of the oil royalty payment owed to the Terengganu due to the nation’s current fiscal position.
During his winding up speech on the Midterm Review of the 11th Malaysian Plan (RMK11), Azmin said the federal government is not delaying the payment but had no choice and had to “recallibrate its finances”.
“I give my commitment that the new government under the leadership of His Most Honourable Langkawi will ensure we keep our promises,” Azmin replied to Kuala Nerus MP (PAS) Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali who wanted to know when the state will receive its Petronas oil royalty.
“We are not trying to delay the royalty payment, but because of the country’s financial position today, we must recalibrate the priorities to ensure that the government administration’s runs smoothly while driving the economic growth,” he said.
Azmin also promised that he would discuss the matter with the Finance Ministry.
Mohd Khairuddin then informed him that he had already raised the matter with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday and the latter had told him the issue was under the Economic Affairs Ministry’s purview.
“The last payment was supposed to be paid in September or October (2018). The Finance Ministry had paid (Terengganu) RM200 million and owes another RM500 million.
“I believe that Petronas had already handed over the RM500 million to Putrajaya, so when will you give us the payment?” Mohd Khairuddin continued asking.
Azmin said this is the reason why he would have to discuss the issue with the Finance Ministry and then turned to address the matter raised by Rantau Panjang MP (PAS) Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof on Kelantan’s own oil royalty.
Unlike Terengganu, Azmin said the government has not paid the Kelantan state government its Petronas oil royalty was due to the suit by the Kelantan state government against Petronas and the federal government.
“In Kelantan, the case is different. We couldn’t pay anything at all because you sued us. However, I have read the statement from Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob to retract the suit against Petronas and the federal government.
“I think that is a good start. This will create a conducive environment so we can find a mutually fair and beneficial solution quickly,” said Azmin.