MIRI, March 11 — Barisan Nasional (BN) is confident that the issue of oil royalty harped by Pakatan Harapan ahead of the 14th General Election (GE14) will not sway voter sentiment in Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas described the issue to grant 20 per cent royalty to Sarawak was an old one that was recycled by the opposition.
“This is an old issue, full control over the oil and gas industry in Sarawak has been given to the state government, we will get returns of more than 20 per cent (of the royalty),” he told reporters after officiating the Miri level Rabies Mass Vaccination programme here today.
Uggah, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, was also confident that voters in Sarawak were wise enough to judge for themselves all the efforts particularly relating to reclaiming Sarawak’s rights as stipulated in the Federal Constitution made by the state government.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg announced that the Sarawak would assume full regulatory control over the upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state by July as part of the devolution of powers from the federal government.
Abang Johari made the announcement when he launched Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and assured that Sarawak would exploit its natural resources of oil and gas as provided for constitutionally under the State List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
He said the devolution of powers was in keeping with the agreement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to return to Sarawak the powers provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that had been inadvertently eroded over the years.
The formation of Petros and the exercising of the constitutional rights under item 2© of the State List and 8(j) of the Federal List, as provided in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, were the outcome of the discussions on the devolution of powers between the state and federal governments, he added.
Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen, when launching the first phase of the opposition pact’s manifesto for the GE14 recently, was quoted as saying that they would increase the oil royalty for Sarawak to 20 per cent should they win the election. — Bernama