KUCHING: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly has unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to request the Federal Government for an increase in the oil royalty from 5% to 20%.
A motion on the increase was originally tabled by Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) but an amended motion, which included seeking more development grants from the Federal Government aside from the royalty, was subsequently tabled by Abdullah Saidol (BN-Semop) and approved.
Abdullah said his motion was in line with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s recent statement in support of an increased royalty.
“We plan to invite the Federal Government to revisit the royalty arrangement, which includes reviewing the relevant legislation. The Chief Minister’s statement was not mere political rhetoric but a representation of the genuine sentiment of all Sarawakians.
“This motion is about our desire to review the royalty rate to a quantum more favourable to us. It can be also construed as a request for more development funds which we can channel to rural areas where basic needs like electricity, clean water and roads are still needed,” he told the House on Tuesday.
Abdullah added that the state wished to mutually negotiate a revision of the royalty with the aim of achieving a better deal in order to accelerate development.
“We don’t want the Federal government to accommodate our request on humanitarian grounds but must be able to impress upon them that we have the right to be treated equally as a partner when we jointly formed Malaysia,” he said.
However, he said the pursuit of a higher royalty rate must not affect the close working relationship, mutual respect and cordiality between the state and Federal governments.
Meanwhile, Chong said he did not mind that his motion had been amended by a Barisan backbencher.
“Once a motion is passed, it is the House motion. It does not matter who originates the motion. This day we will make a unanimous decision and give our full support even if the motion comes from Barisan.
“What is important is that our state gets this money,” he said. — The Star