KUCHING September 10, 2012: Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing has questioned the rationale in asking the people of Sabah and Sarawak to remain patient for development projects to be implemented, considering that the states are major oil and gas producers in the country.
Masing, who is Baleh assemblyman, was not impressed with the recent statement by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that people of the two states should be patient for natural resources to be extracted and the fruit of foreign investments to materialise before they can experience the same tempo of development as their counterparts in the Peninsula.
“Mahathir asked Sarawakians and Sabahans to be patient? Our oil and gas resources are depleting, almost finished and he asked us to be patient? If we have used our oil and gas revenue strictly for our own state all these years, Sarawak would definitely be on par with Peninsular Malaysia in terms of development,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Masing is no stranger when it comes to championing the cause in raising oil and gas royalty for the state.
He recently suggested that the proposed special committee set up by the federal government to review oil and gas royalties should include Sabah and Sarawak as both states were the main contributors to the national petroleum production.
Dr Mahathir also opined that the development of Sabah and Sarawak has “outstripped” the peninsula.
He said the state has the highest foreign direct investment and Sabah has the largest reserves of petroleum in the country.
The oil and gas royalty for Sabah and Sarawak is currently at five per cent.
by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith