End to a legal saga

Date:

KUCHING: The consent judgement entered into on Thursday between the Sarawak government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is a historic achievement to be proud of, bringing an end to a long drawn legal saga, said lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani.

“(This) endorsed the judgement of the High Court that recognised Sarawak’s Oil Mining Ordinance 1958, the constitutional powers of Sarawak as a partner that formed Malaysia to pass laws, to impose the State Sales Tax (SST) pursuant to Sarawak Sales Tax Ordinance and Regulations 1998 passed by our State Legislative Assembly,” he said in a statement.

Shankar said this paved the way for Sarawak government to earn billions in annual revenue not only from Petronas but also other oil companies operating in Sarawak.

This would certainly benefit Sarawakians, he added.

“As I understand it, the suit against Petronas was based on half yearly SST payments due and owing by Petronas in 2019, which it refused to settle and came to some RM2 billion eventually with interests and penalty charges.

“By now, the Sarawak government can also charge SST for the year end 2019 and first half of 2020, amounting to an additional RM2 billion or so,” he said.

Shankar commented that Sarawak must now forge ahead and pursue its autonomy in education and healthcare.

“The education of our young cannot be taken lightly because we need to see Sarawak grow strong and produce bright young people for the future of the state” he emphasised.

He pointed out that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had paved the way by creating a new state ministry related to education. 

“Healthcare is another big matter we must pursue. I trust that Abang Johari together with his Cabinet ministers will lead Sarawak in the right direction as he has done well so far,” he said. 

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