Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING: The withdrawal of Petronas’ appeal is an extraordinary success in terms of negotiations between the Sarawak government and its federal counterpart.

Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this decision was helpful towards Sarawak’s efforts to develop the state with the financial resources obtained from Petronas.

“If the appeal of this case were to go on, then it will continue for several more years.

“So, if it continues for a few more years, it means that our hopes of getting payment from Petronas, which we have the right to, will be interrupted,” he said yesterday.

He was commenting on the national oil and gas company’s decision to withdraw its appeal against the Kuching High Court’s ruling that Sarawak was entitled to collect sales tax on petroleum products.

At the same time, the Sarawak government also withdrew its cross-appeal over jurisdiction issues on state sales tax (SST).

Wan Junaidi, who is also the Santubong MP, said the success was down to the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“This success is brought about by the Sarawak government, with the support of party leaders in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) who have made the negotiations, in a way that is not discussed outside or in the media.

“But the discussions were made (secara persahabatan) in a cordial manner with the central government that finally led to the withdrawal of the appeal by Petronas.

“This decision cannot be made by Petronas itself unless there are specific instructions from the top leadership of Perikatan Nasional.”

He said the financial resources obtained from Petronas later on would enable the Sarawak government to implement development programmes, especially in rural areas, be they on infrastructure, water, electricity supply, roads and telecommunications.

“This would also enable Sarawak to achieve its target of becoming a developed state by 2030.”