KOTA KINABALU, Aug 19 — The Sabah government still has not received any State Sales Tax (SST) payment from two oil and gas companies.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said that if the two companies have paid the overdue SST amount, reporters would be able to see him smile from ear to ear.

However, the smile is absent, said Masidi at a press conference after launching the Sabah Oil and Gas, Services and Equipment (OGSE) Roadshow at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) on Thursday.

He added that other oil and gas companies operating in Sabah paid on time.

“We don’t have a problem (with the others),” he said.

Masidi also said that if all the oil and gas companies operating in Sabah paid the SST, the State Government would be able to collect RM1.2 billion per annum.

To address the matter with the two companies, Masidi said that the State Government will pursue it within the State’s legal power.

He also said that the matter is being dealt with by the Sabah government and by Petronas.

The two companies are Repsol Oil and Gas Ltd (Repsol) and SEA Hibiscus Sdn Bhd (SEAH).

During the state assembly sitting in July, Masidi said the state government would cancel all work permits issued to the two companies if they fail to settle the overdue SST amounting to RM97 million.

He said notices were given to both firms on June 21, and the amount was supposed to be settled in full within 30 days.

Meanwhile, in his speech at the event, Masidi said that the Sabah government is serious in training Sabahans to play a role in the oil and gas industry in Sabah.

“From the lowest to the highest level of employment,” he said.

He also said that the State Government encourages companies in Sabah to actively participate in the oil and gas industry.

He added that there are 369 companies in Sabah in the industry but less than half are active and are unable to bid for jobs.

Masidi said that although Sabah is the largest producer of oil in the country with 52 percent coming from the state, it is far behind in terms of development from states like Sarawak and Terengganu and even non-oil producing states.

“We are still in infancy.” “Sabah must be in the forefront ... it is high time for Sabahans to take the initiative to head the oil and gas industry in Sabah,” he said.

He also wondered why non-oil producing states in the country are being developed for the downstream oil and gas industry while Sabah is ignored.

“There should be downstream (activities in Sabah),” he stressed.

Nevertheless, Masidi also said that Sabah needs guidance in order to be able to lead the industry and added that Petronas has agreed to nurture and mentor Sabahans in the industry.

“Hopefully, Petronas can take Sabahans in placement to nurture them,” he said.

Masidi also mentioned that the government has not been silent in ensuring maximum participation of Sabahans in the industry.

“Companies must take in Sabahans if they can do the job,” he said.

Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation (MPRC) President/Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Yazid Jaafar explained that the roadshow was jointly organised by the Sabah Economic Planning Unit and MPRC.

He said that the roadshow aims to raise awareness of the National OGSE Industry Blueprint 2021-2030, launched in April 2021, and showcase its initiatives and support available from the government for OGSE companies to empower continued growth and move businesses up the value chain.

“The OGSE Blueprint was introduced to develop a robust, resilient and globally competitive Malaysian OGSE sector which contributes to the nation’s continued and sustainable socioeconomic growth. It seeks to strengthen the OGSE sector’s fundamentals and support OGSE SMEs towards pursuing new areas of growth in sectors adjacent to oil and gas such as renewable energy. The OGSE Blueprint also addresses the country’s energy transition in response to climate change,” he said.

He added that they have rolled out 26 out of 31 initiatives since the launch of the OGSE Blueprint, with the remaining expected to be implemented next year.

He also stated that 36 companies have received the OGSE Development Grant to promote technology adoption among OGSE companies.

Out of the total companies, one, which has an operation in Sabah, was granted a RM250,000 grant, he said.

He added that they welcome more applications from Sabah companies for the Grant. — Borneo Post