PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged the Pakatan Harapan government not to plunder funds from Petronas for bailouts.
“I urge the new government to continue to give sufficient space and capital to Petronas to fulfil their vision and not to plunder funds from Petronas or through bailout missions as what was done during the 22 years of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration,” Najib said on his Facebook post yesterday.
Najib noted that the Pakatan government recently stated that the shortfall in revenue due to the abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be made up by Petronas, Khazanah Nasional and Bank Negara Malaysia, who were asked to provide higher dividend payments to the Government.
However, Najib said this approach was not sustainable.
“Petronas’ profits depend on global oil and gas prices which are out of its control. Over-dependence on high oil prices should be avoided,” he added.
Najib also said that the cash reserves of Petronas had increased to RM164.7bil as at March 2018, an increase of RM36.5bil compared to RM128.2bil at the end of 2017.
He said the increase resulted from competitive oil prices and payments received from Aramco Saudi’s investment for the RAPID Pengerang project.
He pointed out that during his administration, he made sure that Petronas did not need to pay dividends beyond its means.
“This has resulted in the cash balance of Petronas increasing significantly and the company has been able to make investments and expand to implement ‘game changer’ projects such as the RAPID Pengerang project, Sarawak Oil and Gas Integration Project (SSIOGP) and the Sabah Ambon and Urea (Samur) project,” he said.
Najib added that Petronas was also given the freedom to make investments all over the world.