KUCHING, June 12 — Putrajaya has directed national oil company Petronas not to proceed with its appeal after losing a court case and being ordered to pay Sarawak the sales tax amounting to RM2.8 billion, Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said Petronas had filed an appeal of the High Court’s decision on the application for a judicial review against the imposition of the Sarawak Sales Tax on the import of petroleum products before the change of the federal government from Pakatan Harapan (PH) to Perikatan Nasional (PN).
“Petronas has to comply with the court order to pay the sales tax,” he told reporters after chairing a Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) supreme council meeting here today.
He emphasised that based on the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, Petronas has to pay the sales tax.
“I understand that the federal government wants this issue to be settled,” he added.
However, Abang Johari said Petronas has to follow the due processes in court first, which requires it to officially informed the Court of Appeal that it is discontinuing its appeal against a High Court’s decision on the sales tax payment.
He said Petronas just can’t pay the sales tax without informing the court first.
“Once this is done, Petronas will then pay the sales tax.”
Abang Johari also said it is not just the sales tax that the state government wants to settle with the federal government and Petronas.
He said Sarawak wants to be an active participant in the oil and gas industry, together with Petronas.
“This is why a special committee was set up by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and it is jointly chaired by Minister of Finance Senator Tengku Datuk Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof,” he said.
He said there is also an executive committee headed by Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and its members are the State Attorney-General, State Planning Unit Director, Senior State Legal Counsel Datuk Sri Fong Joo Chong and Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) Chief Executive Officer and Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
This committee is to look into the technical aspects of Sarawak’s participation in the oil and gas industry.
“We also have a legislative committee formed by the Sarawak State Assembly Consultative Committee and it is headed by State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“This committee will look at the legal aspects governing the state’s rights over oil and gas resources, Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and other relevant laws,” he said.