Tan Sri James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: Sarawak did not give its rights away to Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) for a RM2 billion payday, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

He said critics, especially the oppositions, who argued to the contrary were “just plain wrong”.

“Sarawak is not surrendering its rights to its oil and gas to Petronas. Whoever assumes to the contrary is just plain wrong.

“On the other hand, Petronas has recognised our rights by conceding to and paying up the five percent State Sales Tax (SST),” he said when contacted yesterday.

Masing said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has clearly stated Sarawak’s stand on its rights many times before.

“But our critics either fail or refuse to understand what is said by the chief minister for reasons best known to themselves,” he said.

He also stressed that the RM2 billion paid by Petronas for SST was not a one-off payment that critics would like the people to believe.

Masing went on to state that both Malaysia and Sarawak needed the survival of Petronas as the national oil and gas corporation. Thus, both Petronas and Sarawak must understand each other’s needs.

“Both of them require the survival of the other to continue operating. Our economic ecosystem is very much interlinked,” he added.