KOTA KINABALU: Sabah expects some kind of deal to be struck by the end of the year on its bid to ensure the Pakatan Harapan-led Federal Government holds to its promises to increase oil royalties.
“We have been having discussions with the Prime Minister and have indicated that something must be realised by the end of the year, ” Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said on Saturday (Sept 28).
He said this in response to news reports quoting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying that the proposed increase in oil royalty from 5% to 20% was “not workable".
During a dialogue with fund managers in New York, Dr Mahathir said the federal government had realised that giving 20% royalties to Sabah and Sarawak would mean that Petronas would no longer be an international company and could kill the company.
“So, we have to appeal to the Sabah and Sarawak governments that it is really not workable, ” he said, adding that the federal and state governments were trying to work out how the federal government can give more money to the states without undermining Petronas.
Shafie declined to comment further when pressed on the issue after he launched the Crown Service Suites sales gallery and show unit by property developer Ho Hup Group here on Saturday.
The oil royalty increase were among the key campaign promises of Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 elections that saw Pakatan and Shafie’s Parti Warisan Sabah wresting seats from Barisan Nasional in Sabah and Sarawak.
On the issue of reinstating a ban on pump boats in Sabah waters following last week’s kidnapping of three crewmembers of an Indonesian fishing trawler, Shafie said he has asked the police to study the matter and get back to him with an assessment report.
Asked about the Malaysia Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) plans to work a strategy to check on corruption and abuse in departments handling natural resources, Shafie said they would leave the anti graft body to do its job and would not interfere.
“The environment is one of the issues of concern to the public and MACC chief commissioner (Latheefa Koya) is heading in the right direction.
"We, as the state government, will support it, ” he said when referring to MACC’s plan to act on corrupt practices in agencies involved in forestry, wildlife and also mining.