KUCHING: It seems like Petronas is trying to make things difficult, but the state government knows its case is on the right track, said Abdullah Saidol.

Abdullah Saidol

The Assistant Minister under Chief Minister’s Department (Corporate Affairs and Sarawak Public Communications Unit) described what transpired at the High Court here yesterday as a small battle won in the significant efforts of the state government to defend the state’s rights and interests.

Yesterday, Petronas was unsuccessful in disqualifying Judicial Commissioner Christopher Chin from hearing the case on the state government’s lawsuit against Petronas regarding the payment of five percent state sales tax on petroleum products.

“If this goes on, if Petronas is still stubborn, maybe this will bring rise to other matters. Maybe our rights under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 will be questioned, as well as other acts pertaining to our rights,” he said.

“Many matters will be brought up by both parties, whether they are on the side of the state government or Petronas,” he said when met with reporters at the presentation of Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) cheques (Phase 2, 2019) at UCSI Hotel here yesterday.

Abdullah said this case would likely take a long time in court.

“It is important that we try our very best to defend (our rights),” he said.

He added that they did not want the next generation 20 to 30 years down the road to question the efforts of the current leaders, especially from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), in defending the state’s interests.

He expressed his hope that the people of Sarawak would support the state government with regard to this suit, notwithstanding political beliefs, as this was a matter of public interest.

At the same time, he emphasised that they did not want the issue of race to arise in relation to this case.

“When we talk about our rights and interests, we should not encroach on bigotry, prejudice and racism,” said Abdullah.