PENAMPANG August 28, 2012: Sabah and Sarawak should have their own panel to look into the oil royalty review for both states, said United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organization (UPKO) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok .
The Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said this when asked to comment on the suggestion to have the two East Malaysian states included in the special committee to review the oil royalty paid to Terengganu and Kelantan by the federal government.
“Sabah and Sarawak should have their own panel to talk to the federal government. It is not necessary to be part of the panel for the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
“Obviously the historical setting is quite different both for Sabah and Sarawak and the peninsula states. Therefore I think it is necessary to have a separate panel for these two (East Malaysian) states,” Dompok said.
When asked about the opposition’s claim that the state government had in the past said that there was no necessity to ask for an increase in the royalty because it was getting huge allocation from the federal government for development but is now saying that it is open to discussion, Dompok said, “I do not know about the state government but we (UPKO) have been quite consistent in our view that there should be a re-look into the oil royalty and I think the immediate doable figure to my mind, is 10 per cent.
According to the Penampang member of parliament, under the agreement with Petronas, the royalty payment is 10 per cent, split between Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.
“I think for a start that one is doable… for a start we can almost have another five per cent. This is my thinking. Beyond that there will have to be some negotiation with the oil companies because there are power sharing contracts with these companies in which these terms are spelt out.
“Therefore this is an area that needs to be looked into and this is where the committee comes in. That is why I said Sabah and Sarawak deserve a different committee from the one they have in Semenanjung,” Dompok stressed.
He explained that the federal government has already been indirectly paying money to Kelantan and Terengganu.
“Probably not in royalty but in essence they have been paid some money so I think it would not be wise to lump it up together with Sabah and Sarawak because Sabah and Sarawak are different,” he pointed out.