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English-Nation-S’wak to discuss oil royalty review with federal govt

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KUCHING: The state government will discuss the need to review the current 5% petroleum royalty paid to Sarawak with the federal government based on the prevailing close relationship and goodwill between both sides, Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said today.

Concurring that state leaders from both sides of the political divide had struck a common ground on the issue, he said, both sides needed to sit down and discuss the matter, especially following the recent announcement by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that a special committee was being set up to study the petroleum royalty to East Coast states.

“The matter will be discussed with the federal government based on my good relationship with the prime minister,” he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here.

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Early this month Najib had announced that the committee was given six months to study the matter before making recommendations to the federal government, which would put to rest all questions surrounding the royalty payment.

However, many state political leaders had said that a review of the petroleum royalty to East Coast states should include Sarawak and Sabah since both were the main contributors to the national petroleum production.

Sarawak Barisan Nasional deputy women chief Fatimah Abdullah was quoted as saying it was time for the agreement on the 5% oil royalty be revised since it was made more than four decades ago.

DAP state chairman Wong Ho Leng said it was the federal government’s duty to look into interest of both states, to elevate their status to be on par with states in the peninsula.

-Bernama