KUCHING, Nov 3 — Sarawak should have a fair share of the RM30 billion special dividend that state-owned Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) will pay to the federal government, State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo said today.
She said Sarawak is producing as much as 800,000 boe (barrel oil equivalent) per day, and with the oil price hovering around US$77 per barrel, it is equivalent to RM250 million on a daily basis.
“So, why is Sarawak not getting a sen of this ‘windfall profit’ due to the recent increased price for Sarawak oil?” she said, adding that Sarawak produces the most expensive oil in the world for its lightness and extremely low sulphur content
“Instead, this RM30 billion extraordinary profit will go to the federal government, which already receives royalty, dividend and taxes, with nothing for Sarawak,” she said.
She urged the Sarawak government to take action to compel Petronas to share half of its windfall profits generated from Sarawak’s territory.
Soo was responding to the Fiscal Outlook and Federal Government Revenue Estimates 2019 Report released yesterday that stated Petronas will be contributing a one-off RM30 billion special dividend to Putrajaya next year, in order to settle the RM37 billion outstanding tax refunds left behind by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
She also called Budget 2019, which was tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Parliament yesterday, as a big disappointment for Sarawak.
She said the allocation of RM4.346 billion for development for next year is a mere 0.23 per cent increase from the RM4.336 billion which Sarawak received for this year.
She said RM4.346 billion represents 3 per cent of Sarawak’s contribution of RM115 billion in 2017 to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Out of the national budget of RM314 billion, Sarawak is getting a mere 1.3 per cent for all its contributions,” Soo said.
She said the Pakatan Harapan government’s sweet words of equal partners and promises of development for Sarawak were mere political rhetoric.
“When Budget time comes, we are just equal partners to Perlis or Kedah,” she said.