KOTA KINABALU: The state government will monitor the collection of new state revenue for petroleum products, including from national oil and gas company Petronas, says Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
The Sabah government has imposed a 5% sales tax on petroleum products as part of new state revenue collection, starting April this year.
“To ensure that the aim and strategies of the 2021 state budget can be achieved, efforts will be made to improve financial management efficiency of the current year and to rationalise resources development.
“The state government will monitor the new state revenue collection for petroleum products and ensure that oil companies operating in this state, including Petronas, make tax payments accordingly, ” he said when reading the government policy speech during the opening of the Sabah state assembly meeting on Thursday (Nov 12).
Petronas’ failure to pay up has made headlines several times, with former chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal having threatened in September to take the case to court.
Shafie said then only Petronas, out of the nine oil companies operating in Sabah, had not made payments.
Shafie had also received criticism earlier for not pursuing the matter.
Petronas, however, was able to pay neighbouring Sarawak the RM2.95bil in state sales tax owed to the Sarawak government in September.
Meanwhile, Juhar said the state government plans to accelerate developing the state, especially in continuing the implementation of high-impact projects such as Pan Borneo Highway, Sepanggar Bay Container Port expansion, Upper Padas hydro-power and Jalan Kalabakan/Serudong-Semanggaris construction.
“The state government will also prioritise developing rural infrastructures and utilities such as road links, treated water supply and electricity, ” he added.
He said the Sabah government will also emphasise on "clean and environmentally friendly industries" for the industrial sector to thrive in, in line with the government’s focus on environmental conservation.
“At the same time, we are aware that the tourism sector has been badly impacted by Covid-19.
“The state government will continue efforts to bring back the momentum by creating a holistic recovery framework, to be implemented once Sabah is free from the pandemic, ” Juhar added.
He said towards this end, the state government will attempt to improve environmental management as flora and fauna is the state’s biggest assets.
“The state government is committed to continuing the policy to achieve 30% Totally Protected Areas (TPA) statewide by 2025.
“At present, the size of forests declared as TPA has reached 1.9 million hectares or 26%, making Sabah the state with the largest TPA in Malaysia, ” he noted.
Juhar also said the state government will improve security along the coastal borders, where Eastern Sabah Security Command’s (Esscom) role and powers will be strengthened.
“Immigrant entry and smuggling in through illegal routes at border areas must be stopped once and for all.
“The curfew order at the east coast under Esscom surveillance will be continued so long as threats to peace and safety still exist, while Ops Benteng must be continued to curb illegal immigrants from entering (the state), ” he added.
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