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PBS suggests State panel

Published on: Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has suggested the setting up of a State-level Barisan Nasional (BN) committee to bring up and discuss the proposal to increase Sabah's oil royalty to 20 per cent with the Federal Government.

Its Information Chief Datuk Jahid Jahim, in making the suggestion, said this is the best and most appropriate approach to effectively pursue the matter.

He believed that the proposed State-level committee, to comprise representatives of all Sabah BN components, would be able to aggressively and effectively pursue the matter with the Federal Government.

"Now that we have one solid voice of strong support from all our leaders and people of Sabah to ask for oil royalty increase, it would be the most appropriate to form the said committee to aggressively and effectively pursue the matter at the Federal level," he said.

"The entire people of Sabah are behind the State Government in this proposal, so there is no reason or excuse to delay it," he said, adding the State-level committee could work with its counterpart in the neighbouring Sarawak.

Jahid, who is formerly Tamparuli Assemblyman, was pleased that Sabah leaders and people had again displayed a great example of unity over matters concerning the State and Sabahan affairs, which previously had led to the setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also Sabah BN and Umno Chief, had on Tuesday assured that the State Government is open to hearing views brought up in a responsible manner on the issue of oil royalty.

"One of our roles in the Sabah BN is to uphold, protect and fight for the rights and interests of the State, for the benefit of the people.

The oil royalty issue is not new, and clearly it is in line with the rights and interests of the State and the people. In the 13th General Election held last year, the matter of oil royalty was clearly stated in the Sabah BN Manifesto," he said.

"In line with this, we welcome and appreciate efforts of any parties that are honest and sincere in their struggles, as long as it is for the benefit of the State and its people," added Musa, who is also Finance Minister.

The matter resurfaced following a renewed call by PBS and Komulakan Upko that the State Government should work together with its counterpart in Sarawak to pursue the matter, after the new Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem's statement that he would request for a 20 per cent increase in oil royalty.

Last Saturday, three Kadazandusun and Murut (KDM) BN component youth wings, namely PBS, PBRS and Upko, also urged the Federal Government increase the oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak to 20 percent. On the following day, Sabah Umno Deputy Chief Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said also expressed support for their calls, stating that it had merits to be considered seriously by the Federal Government.

Acting Upko President Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau was reported on Tuesday as saying that the party would continue to pursue the matter and will bring it up during the next BN Supreme Council meeting.

The latest to voice support was BN Youth Exco member Ariffin Kassim who said the time has come for the Federal Government to review the oil royalty increase request by Sabah because the matter has been delayed for too long.

"This has been an on-and-off thing in the State political historyÉso the demand by PBS, PBRS and Upko Youth wings for the oil royalty to be increased to 20 per cent, compared to five per cent now, deserved to be given attention," he said.

Ariffin said the Federal Government had undoubtedly been concerned about Sabah and its people all this while but still much more needs to be done to develop this State to the same level as others in the peninsula.

"The rakyat are questioning how come the State, which is rich in natural resources, still remains a backward state," he said, adding in principle he agreed with the proposal to increase the oil royalty to 20 per cent but various aspects need to be discussed and refined accordingly.

The Kota Kinabalu, Putatan and Pensiangan Upko youth chiefs, Dennison R Indang, Mark Silak and Jekerison Kilan, also supported the proposal.

He said the rakyat who are hungry for better development in the Interior like Pensiangan want to see the Federal Government increase the oil royalty so that they can enjoy living like the other Malaysians in other parts of the country.

"Pensiangan people are desperate for development especially public amenities and infrastructure, like better roads, water and electricity supply and so on, which are still very much lacking," he said.