KOTA KINABALU: Sept 6, 2008 By MUGUNTAN VANAR
Former chief minister Datuk Harris Mohd Salleh is asking the Sabah and Sarawak state governments to pass a resolution in their respective legislative assemblies to demand 25% oil royalty instead of the current 5%.
In a letter dated Sept 2, sent to the chief ministers and all assemblymen of the two states, Harris said that it was an opportune time for both Sabah and Sarawak to seek an increase in oil royalties by approving and adopting a motion for increase effective Jan 1, 2009.
Harris, whose letter was made available to the media, said that since the signing of the petroleum agreement with the federal government in 1974, the price of petrol has increased four times.
He said among other reasons for the increase was that many negotiated federal projects implemented in the state were not a priority and were implemented at double the cost without the tender.
Among the other reasons he gave for the increase was that Sabah and Sarawak needed a lot of funds to undertake their respective development projects especially in raising the standard of living of their people, said Harris, who was the Berjaya government chief minister between 1976 and 1985.
“These days, the federal government is accommodating any just and fair requests from both states,” he said, adding that an increase in oil royalty was justified as even the federal government acknowledges there is a need for development in the two states.
Harris said that he hoped the two Barisan-led state governments would seriously consider pushing for the increase as it would be in the interest of the present and future generations of the two states.