March 13 set for decision on Petronas’ application

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Feb 2020

KUCHING: The High Court here fixed March 13 to decide on an application by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) for a judicial review to declare the Sarawak State Sales Tax (SST) as “null and void”.

High Court judge Azahari Kamal Ramli fixed the date after hearing submissions by Petronas, represented by counsels Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Alvin Chong.

State Attorney General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid and state legal counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong represented the Sarawak government.Petronas seeks a judicial review to declare the SST, imposed by the Sarawak government, through its Comptroller of SST, as contravening the Federal Constitution.

The application sought a declaration that the SST (Taxable Goods and Rate of Tax) (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2018, Sections 2, 7, 8, 11(1), 12(1), 12(6), 12(7) and 15(d) of the Sarawak Sales Tax Ordinance 1998 and Regulation 19C, Sarawak State Sales Tax Regulations 1998 are ultra vires the Constitution.

In his submission yesterday, Malik said the Sarawak government’s SST should not be imposed in a carte blanche manner, but in line with the Constitution.

He said the power to impose SST was only in respect to matters in the Constitution’s states list; petroleum came under the Federal list.

Fong also said any conditions for the imposition of the SST must only be spelt out by Article 95B(3) of the Constitution.

This article stated the Legislature of Sabah or Sarawak may also make laws for imposing sales taxes, and any sales tax imposed by state law in the state of Sabah or Sarawak shall be deemed matters enumerated in the state list.

He said the Article must also be given an interpretation in recognition that it was incorporated in the Constitution as one of the special constitutional arrangements that had been agreed upon before the formation of Malaysia. — Bernama

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