Saturday, March 12, 2016

DAP lawmaker wants Sarawak MPs to support oil royalty hike motion

Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen has urged Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to direct all 25 members of Parliament from the state Barisan Nasional to support his amendment motion in the Dewan Rakyat to demand 20% oil and gas royalty for Sarawak. With the support of all Sarawak BN MPs, together with that of 87 opposition MPs, Chong is confident that the motion will be passed in Parliament to demand that oil royalty be increased from 5% to 20%. "We hope Adenan is true to his word about fighting for the interest of Sarawak and direct his 25 Sarawak BN MPs to support my amendment motion. "Do not put the wishes and interests of (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib and Umno over the interests of Sarawak," the state DAP chairman said at a press conference today. Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said the motion in Parliament was different from the motion passed in the state assembly as the federal government had no choice but to carry out the resolution of the Parliament. The speaker of the house is expected to accept Chong's motion to demand an increase in the oil and gas royalty and put it to a vote later this month. "If Sarawak wants true autonomy, it needs revenue of its own as of right, not the constant begging for more from the federal government and this 20% oil and gas royalty is one way to increase the state's revenue," Chong said. The Sarawak assembly in May 2014 unanimously passed a motion to give mandate to the state government to demand the increase in Sarawak's oil and gas royalty as compensation in lieu of oil and gas rights from 5% to 20%. Earlier this year, Adenan said he would only push for the demand later due to the drop in international oil prices. However, Chong said now was the best time to get the 20% oil royalty because the Sarawak election was just around the corner. "Najib needs a bigger BN win in Sarawak to secure his position as prime minister. "The Sarawak BN MPs hold the keys to federal government. Najib and his Cabinet owe their positions to the 25 Sarawak BN MPs and thus the state's wishes ought to be given priority," he said. In addition, Chong said the 20% oil royalty would not be a burden on the federal coffers given the low oil prices and the fact that the federal government had just received extra windfall revenue from the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2015. "If even under such favourable conditions, the federal government is still not willing to return to the Sarawak state government the 20% oil royalty, then there is no hope of Sarawak getting it," he said. – March 12, 2016.]]>

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