KOTA KINABALU August 25, 2011: An Umno Youth leader yesterday urged the state government to consider forming a state-level special committee to coordinate and handle issues concerning the oil and gas industry in Sabah.
Keningau Umno Youth head Azman Haji Ruslan said in view of the huge potential for the development of oil and gas sector in Sabah, it was therefore important for Sabah to be properly represented, especially when it comes to making negotiation with the federal government.
“The oil and gas industry is now a big concern to the people of Sabah and it would be unfortunate if the state does not have a strong negotiating team that could represent Sabah’s interest.
“It’s exciting to know that the oil and gas sector will play a major role in the future development of Sabah, but I believe not many Sabahans are really familiar with the oil and gas industry.
“Therefore, it’s probably high time for Sabah to form a special committee or think-tank, which will not only function as a business forum but to cultivate a deeper understanding about the oil and gas industry among the people.
“It will also help our leaders to have a better grasps about the (oil and gas) issues and be able to speak with more authority about the industry,” said Azman, who is the former Sabah Umno Youth head.
Azman was commenting on Sabah Oil and Gas Contractors Association (SOGCA) president Datuk Iskandar Abdul Malik’s statement who suggested that Sabah Energy Corporation (SEC) be given the leading role in the development of Sabah’s oil and gas industry.
Iskandar said that presently everybody in the State’s oil and gas industry still does not know who is leading the industry.
“Everybody jumped into this industry, like the SEC, Sedco, Yayasan Sabah and so on until we do not know who is leading the industry,” Iskandar was quoted as saying.
Azman however agreed with Datuk Dr Johan Arriffin’s (Yayasan Sabah Group deputy director) statement that local contractors must team up with the established players with the right technology and experience,” he said.
“Datuk Johan was right by urging Petronas to nurture local oil and gas contractors and service providers with the right experience and technological know-how,” Azman said.
Petronas recently announced major plans to develop long-term key projects to monetize and add value to Sabah’s petroleum resources, which will result in greater revenue to the state.
Following discoveries of oil and gas resources in offshore Sabah, Petronas is forging ahead with its upstream and downstream oil and gas projects involving a combined capital investment of RM45 billion.