KUCHING — Uncertainty shrouds the Sarawak government’s plans for the oil and gas industry now that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is in power in Putrajaya.
Representatives of oil and gas companies yesterday attended an industry event organised by the state government, but some participants felt their concerns were not addressed.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg delivered the keynote address but made no obvious mention of how PH’s election promises with regards to Sarawak’s resources would affect his plans.
“What we want to know is what now with Pakatan in power. Will all the state’s plans even matter?” a participant told Malay Mail.
When reporters later asked Abang Johari if he was worried the PH government could derail his plans for the state, he replied in the negative.
“Let them settle down first. Be fair to them. You know, I had a conversation with them,” he said, confirming reports he had spoken to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and head of the Council of Eminent Persons Tun Daim Zainuddin, on Monday.
He declined to divulge details of the conversation.
The chief minister has taken big steps to assert the state’s rights over its oil and gas resources.
At the end of last year, he launched Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), with the support of the former Barisan Nasional federal government, as the state’s regulatory body for the industry.
Following the establishment of Petros, state BN leaders had said the oil royalty payable to the state, which had been the cause of much dissatisfaction among Sarawakians, was “no longer relevant”.
However, this runs contrary with the PH promise to increase the royalty from the paltry five per cent to 20 per cent if it took over Putrajaya.
PH also promised to distribute half of the 20 per cent as petroleum cash dividends to Sarawakians.
In his speech, Abang Johari reiterated that by July 1, every entity in the industry will be required to comply with all state laws under either the Oil Mining Ordinance, 1958, the Gas Distribution Ordinance, 2016, or the Land Code.