A national embarrassment

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: Malaysian National Oil Company — Petronas, is an embarrassment for refusing to comply with the laws of the land on which it operates.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said this in a statement issued yesterday regarding Petronas’ response on Sarawak’s demand for payment of the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

“It is even worse because Petronas is challenging the legality of Sarawak’s oil and gas laws.

James Masing

“It smacks of bullying by Malaya/Kuala Lumpur on Sarawak, the country’s oil and gas producer,” he said.

Masing who is also Infrastructure and Port Development Minister pointed out that Petronas had been sucking Sarawak’s oil and gas to the tune of about 85,000 barrels a day since 1974 and gave back to Sarawak only 5 per cent in royalty per year.

“Even the foreign oil and gas companies pay their dues in accordance with the laws of the land in which they operate.

“I wonder whether Petronas obeys the laws of foreign nations in which they operate?”

On Friday, Petronas filed in their statement of defence to a suit by the Sarawak government for failure to pay the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

On Nov 21, a writ of summons and statement of claim were filed by the Comptroller of State Sales Tax and the Sarawak government against Petronas at the High Court registry here.