Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

KUCHING: If Petronas founding chairman and chief executive Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s statements were true, then Petronas and Malaya had failed Sarawak by failing to fulfil their parts in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah made this point when commenting on Tengku Razaleigh’s claim that the setting up of Petronas (plus payment of five per cent payment to the state) was Sarawak’s idea. He also said the states were not allowed to interfere in oil matters.

“If what Tengku Razaleigh said were true, then Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Ya’kub and Sarawak must have sacrificed so much for the development and wellbeing of Malaysia. So much so that it’s willing to accept only five per cent royalty for oil extracted from Sarawak territories.

“The question is, has Malaya sincerely and faithfully done its part in developing Sarawak in accordance to what was agreed to when Malaysia was formed or when Sarawak agreed to the five per cent royalty,” he said to New Sarawak Tribune when contacted yesterday.

He said he was sure that Abdul Rahman agreed to the five per cent royalty due to an assurance that the state would be developed in unison with Malaya.

“Through the years, we saw that the development gap between Malaya and Sarawak got bigger and bigger. We can only say that Malaya failed to perform its part of the bargain. Furthermore, they failed to pay and increase its monetary payment to the state as agreed under MA63,” he said.

Abdul Karim also questioned Tengku Razaleigh, saying, “Did Tengku Razaleigh realise that he — a former federal Finance Minister and Petronas founding chairman — had failed to make sure that Sarawak got a fair deal?

“Instead, he said it was Sarawak that proposed the formation of Petronas and requested for the five per cent royalty,” he said.

Abdul Karim also emphasised that agreements over resources should not be static.

“Even rental and tenancy agreements normally get reviewed every three years. But now he said it was Sarawak that requested the agreements be made,” said Abdul Karim.

Asked on the validity of Tengku Razaleigh’s claims, Abdul Karim said the statements were his (Tengku Razaleigh’s) version and opinion.

“Abdul Rahman, the person he claimed as instrumental in the making of the agreement, had long passed away, unable to confirm or rebut what Tengku Razaleigh alleged. All I can say is if this is so, then Petronas and Malaya had failed us,” he added.