MIRI, June 11 — The state’s revenue collection this year from the sales tax on petroleum products exports would exceed the figure from the 20 per cent royalty proposed by Pakatan Harapan (PH) in its manifesto for the 14th general election.

Deputy Minister in Premier of Sarawak’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala said this would translate into rural Sarawak benefitting from greater infrastructure and economic development.

“The (ruling coalition) Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)’s success in getting five per cent sales tax on petroleum products has given Sarawak more revenues than the 20 per cent royalty on crude (oil), which was promised by PH but was never fulfilled,” he told The Borneo Post when asked about the impact on the state coffers after the oil price spiked to a new height, at US$124 a barrel, on Thursday before easing slightly with Brent futures at US$123.58 (RM543.63) a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures at US$122.11 (RM537.16).

Last October, Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg — also the Finance and New Economy Minister — projected that crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other petroleum products could generate sales tax of RM3.16 billion out of the RM10-billion revenue expected this year.

In this regard Gerawat, who was in the oil and gas industry before taking up politics, said the revenue increase would depend on volume of production of crude oil from the wells and sales of petroleum products.

“With the anticipated higher revenue for the state, I look forward to seeing accelerated rural development, especially in the provision of basic infrastructures and facilities such as roads, electricity and clean water supply, as well as telecommunication and Internet services that are very much in need.

“Availability and access to good medical and educational facilities for the rural population are also vital. With better physical and digital connectivity, the socio-economic potential of the huge rural areas can be developed to improve the livelihood and also the economic performance of our rural population,” he said.

Sarawak was the first state in the country to impose a five per cent sales tax on petroleum products, back in 2019. As at September 2021, it had collected RM6.8 billion from the taxation. — Borneo Post Online