KUCHING: Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen has declared that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wasn’t being sincere on the Sarawak Government’s demand for a hike in the oil royalty to 20 per cent from the present 5 per cent. Najib had pledged in Miri recently, in conjunction with Gawai Dayak, that he would consider the demand either directly “or in some other form”.
Chong said that there was ample time to discuss his motion on the oil royalty but instead the Government chose not to have a debate in the afternoon and adjourned at 1pm, he fumed. “Najib failed the test of sincerity.”
“The Standing Order of the House of representatives reads that the House shall resume at 2.30 pm and continue until 5.30 pm,” said Chong. “By choosing not to have a debate in the afternoon, it’s clear that Najib is avoiding the oil royalty issue.”
Chong said that it’s important that there be a debate in the Dewan Rakyat on the oil royalty pledge by Najib and the Resolutions by the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak and the Sarawak Government on the issue. Otherwise, he pointed out, any pledge by the Prime Minister remains empty talk and sweet promises only.
The Sarawak DAP chief, also the Kuching MP and state assemblyman for Kota Sentosa, submitted a Letter of Petition on the motion to Shahidan Kassim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, on Wednesday. The letter was signed by 87 MPs including three Sarawak BN MPs. Chong did not disclose the names of the three BN MPs.
The motion, according to Chong, reads as follows:
(1) The Federal Government do agree with the request of the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak and the State Government of Sarawak to increase the oil and gas royalty payable to Sarawak in lieu of oil and gas rights from the present 5 % to 20 % of the gross value of oil and gas extracted from the surrounding waters of Sarawak;
(2) The Federal Government shall within this year put into effect all legal documentation for the increment of the said Royalty rights from 5 % to 20 %.
The DAP takes the view that there is a divergence in view between the BN at the federal and state levels on the oil royalty issue.
“While the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak and Sarawak Government support the oil royalty increase, only three BN MPs supported the DAP motion,” he said. “The Sarawak BN should review its position in the BN and Sarawak’s status in the Federation of Malaysia.”
Chong did not disclose the names of the three BN MPs.
The Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak passed the Resolution for an oil royalty increase last month on the 6th.