KOTA KINABALU: The government must justify why Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan have been left out from the targeted fuel subsidy scheme that will come into effect on Jan 1,2020.
Opposition Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri (Anak Negeri) central committee member Hendrew Sigar said that Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail must justify why the Borneo states, as oil producers, would not be rewarded with fuel subsidy.
He said the fact that Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan will retain the RON95 fuel price of RM2.08 is beside the point.
"The argument that Sabah, Sarawak and FT Labuan are enjoying the price of RM2.08 for RON95 is not acceptable.
"Why not the Federal Government pay more subsidy and further reduce the fuel price to an affordable level for the Borneo states?
"Why stay at RM2.08 if consumers in Sabah Sarawak and Labuan could enjoy more subsidy?" he asked in a statement here on Monday (Oct 7).
He said that it looked scandalous that Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan were denied the benefit of fuel subsidy as these Borneo states are major producers of oil and gas, which collectively brings billions in federal revenue.
For that matter, Hendrew said that the Sabah state government must adopt a firm stand on the issue of 20% oil royalty and undertake measures to pursue and protect state entitlement on oil and gas revenue.
"The Borneo states should not abandon or simply ignore their fair share of the huge oil and gas revenue," Hendrew added.
He said that the state and Federal governments should meet on a round table discussion to reach an amicable solution on the oil royalty issue but warned Sabah and Sarawak should not give up anything for nothing.
Should talk fail, Hendrew said the state government should seek judicial review of validity of federal laws governing oil and gas in Sabah that were passed during the emergency period as emergency laws were lifted in 2011.
He said the Federal Court, in its capacity as the Constitutional Court, is the correct venue for the state to seek legal redress and bring the matter to a dignified closure without damaging state-federal relations.