KUCHING, Dec 30 — State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo today urged the Sarawak government to impose a 20 per cent sales tax on petroleum and petroleum products to fund schools and infrastructures.
She said the state government should also start a sovereign fund for the future generations from a certain percentage of the revenue collected from the sales tax.
“It is time that Sarawak starts looking after ourselves to catch up with the other states, instead of being their cash cow for as long as we remain in the Federation of Malaysia,” Soo said.
She said that the federal government has cancelled many state projects, including Batang Lupar, Batang Igan and Batang Rambungan bridges, and has also reduced allocations for Sarawak.
“Even the grass along the federal roads is not cut, posing a visibility hazard to motorists.
“No money for Sarawak but there is money for development in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Ambitious projects such as third national car, crooked bridge and infrastructure development in the peninsula are being announced,” she said.
Soo claimed that the federal government has made a negative impact on Sarawak’s economic lifeline by cutting off allocations to the state especially with regards to education, healthcare and infrastructure.
She suggested that the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO), which was amended this year, be enforced as soon as possible and not in 2020 to generate revenue for development.
OMO compels oil companies who wish to prospect, explore and mine oil and gas resources in Sarawak to apply for the permits and licences.
Soo urged the state government to repudiate the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and Territorial Sea Act in the State Legislative Assembly and to propose to Parliament that both Acts be provided with additional clause to exclude Sarawak.
“This is a matter of urgency as the state has special protections not available to the states of Malaya under our Sarawak Constitution and municipal laws, Malaysia Agreement 1963, Federal Constitution, Sarawak Land Code, customary law and international law.
“This is to safeguard our oil, gas and other natural resources for our future generations,” she said.
Soo warned Sarawakians to be wary of the move by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) which recently launched its state chapter.
“This is ominous given that the federal government’s interest in Sarawak’s richest region, with billions in ringgit value of our oil and gas spirited away every year to swell the federal coffers and fund the development of Peninsular Malaysia,” she said.