Five percent not enough

Lina Soo.

KUCHING: Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo is of the view that Sarawak should impose 25 percent instead of five percent in state sales tax (SST) on petroleum products, as she believes that the latter is too little.

She pointed out that Sarawak was the landowner and had ownership and economic rights over all its resources, adding that this was enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Federal Constitution, and Sarawak Constitution.

“Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad) has paid 38 percent petroleum tax to the federal government since the 1970s, whereas Sarawak only started to impose five percent SST last year,” she said in a statement on Friday.

She opined that if Petronas felt that 25 percent SST to Sarawak was untenable, then they should just pay five percent tax to the federal government and 25 percent SST to Sarawak.

She said that despite Sarawak being the most resource-rich state in the federation, its people were the poorest with the highest incidence of poverty.

“Even this would not address the grievances and injustice Sarawak had suffered since 1976. Sarawak petroleum rights have been usurped by the unconstitutional Petroleum Development Act (PDA) which should not be applicable to Sarawak.

“All the profits from our oil and gas had been siphoned off to Malaya to feed the development there,” she said.

Soo wanted to know the terms of settlement, if any, under which Petronas had paid the five percent SST to the state government. “What are the strings attached, when the settlement of the five percent SST should be unconditional?”

She wished to know why the state government was not seeking to declare PDA unconstitutional and not applicable to Sarawak, and also wanted the state government to declare that Sarawak had full ownership and all economic rights over oil and gas found in Sarawak and offshore within its territorial waters.

She called upon the state government to disclose all dealings with Petronas and the federal government.

Soo stressed that Sarawak’s sovereignty over its oil and gas resources cannot be compromised.