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YB: Why firm mining gold in Balung and not GLC?
Published on: Thursday, December 09, 2021
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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Kota Kinabalu: Merotai Assemblyman Sarifuddin Hata said Sabah’s land resources should be administered by the State Government rather than private enterprises.

He cited the estimate for gold mining royalty in 2021 of RM4.45 million. “It is also subject to a five per cent Royalty Tax. 

“This means that the private business in charge of a gold mine in Balung will get RM89 million this year and RM108 million in 2022, according to my calculations.

“Sabah has a lot of natural resources which I believe can be managed by government-linked companies (GLCs) so that the revenue goes back to the State and the people of Sabah,” he said, adding that during the Warisan administration, a GLC called Sabah Capital Sdn Bhd was founded within the Ministry of Finance.

“At that time, we want the GLC to take over the management of these gold mines, which we believe are still numerous next to the land managed by a private mining firm.

“What concerns me is whether the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah administration wants to hand over the remaining gold mine land to this private firm; if not, thank God, I respectfully request that it not be done.

 “It’s ideal if it’s given to a GLC firm to run because it’ll bring in more money for the State,” he said, adding “We cannot repeat the mistakes made by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

“We can collaborate with a private firm if we need specific skills, but we must be the majority stakeholder in order to earn from the mining revenue in addition to the royalty,” he said.

 He also questioned the government’s payment of RM130 million to satisfy a court ruling.

“I need an explanation from the Chief Minister, who also happens to be the Finance Minister: does the government set aside this money to pay compensation for lawsuits?

“Has the court already issued a payment order? Does the State Government, through the State Attorney General, not appeal to the court on this claim and request a decrease in the number of claims, either in court or through out-of-court consultation, if a court order has been issued?

“I am concerned because this money belongs to the people and should be protected as much as possible by the government.

 “As a Trustee, I request an explanation from the Minister of Finance.”

He also asked for clarity on RM223.8 million in national debt expenditures, an increase of RM56.3 million from the RM167.5 million in the State Budget for 2021.

“What is the purpose of this debt, and when did the Federal Government hand it over to the State Government?” Is there any interest in this debt? If so, how much interest does the federal government charge per year?

 “What is Sabah’s total debt to the Federal Government to date? Has the State Government made any effort to apply to the Federal Government to transfer this obligation (debt) into a grant so that the State Government is not burdened by it?

 “This sum of RM223.8 million is not small because it can be used to improve infrastructure as well as alleviate poverty in Sabah, which is one of Malaysia’s poorest states.”

 

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