KUCHING: Sarawak is not intimidated in facing off with the national oil and gas company, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), in court over the company’s failure to pay the five percent State Sales Tax on petroleum products.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg delivers his speech at JBALB Appreciation Night. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said he kept his word when he wanted to bring Petronas to court over non-payment of the 5 percent Sales Tax.

“Now we are in court, they think I’m intimidated, well I’m not. Let them be,” he said.

Last Monday, the High Court here fixed Jan 23 to decide whether Judicial Commissioner Christopher Chin should recuse himself from presiding over the case as requested by Petronas.

Sarawak is suing Petronas over unpaid SST amounting to some RM1.3 billion.

Abang Johari described Petronas as ‘bengkeng’ (stubborn) over its reluctance to pay up the SST.

Earlier, addressing diners at the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) Excellent Service Award ceremony in a hotel here, the chief minister stressed that continuous supply of clean water statewide would propel the state’s economic growth.

“With good economy and infrastructure, we can attract investors into the state.

“But the infrastructure must be there, in every economy, water is important along with electricity.”

Abang Johari said with the acquisition of Bakun Dam from Putrajaya, the state is firmly in control of its source of power.

“We are now in discussions with Brunei to sell our electricity and we are looking to increase our supply in Baleh Dam.

“Besides water turbine, we are looking at using floating solar to supply energy into the state’s grid,” he said.

Also present at the dinner were Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Utilities Assistant Minister (Water Supply) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Utilities Datuk Alice Jawan Empaling and JBALB Sarawak director Chang Kuet Shian.