Friday, September 28

Pakatan budget: what are in store for Sabah and Sarawak?

September 27, 2012

The Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak will have a better deal in the Pakatan Rakyat’s budget 2013 as it pledges that in the spirit of Kuching Declaration, it is committed to fulfilling any and all obligations on the part of the federal government.

The Declaration signed in Kuching recently affirms to honour the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963, which among others seeks to restore Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya as equal partners, fair representation in Parliament, citizenship, to restore native customary rights over land,  to appoint locals to head federal government departments in the states,  oil justice and equitable development.

“Pakatan Rakyat shall honour the pledge to increase petroleum royalty to the oil producing states to 20%. This is expected to bring additional RM12.5 billion to the states of Kelantan, Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu in the country so far.

“The disbursement of the petroleum royalty will come with a strict transparency and accountability procedure to ensure that every sen of the petroleum royalty goes to the people,” the Pakatan coalition said.

It said: “Pakatan Rakyat is critical of the favourable treatment given to well-connected corporations such as SapuraKenchana in benefitting from risk-sharing contracts (RCSs) for marginal fields when no similar effort was made to invest in the future of the rakyat from the oil producing states.

“There are enough skills, expertise and resources from the states to develop their own second-tier oil and gas companies that can use the RSCs for the marginal fields as a training ground before competing in the wider oil and gas market, not unlike the experience of Petronas in its formative years.

 “The legacy and benefit of oil and gas resources inn the states can be harvested well beyond the expiry life of the resources itself. The emergence of second-tier oil and gas companies owned by the states retains the skills and expertise in the company that can eventually compete elsewhere, even
when the hydrocarbon resources are fully depleted in Malaysia,” the coalition said.

Pakatan Rakyat will work with the state governments to establish state-owned second-tier oil and gas companies for Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan and other oil-producing states to benefit the financial investments made into marginal fields through risk-sharing contracts (RSCs).

In the budget, the construction of the Pan-Borneo Highway will be given top priority by the Pakatan Rakyat.

Under the present BN government the disparity of road coverage in the peninsula against Sabah and Sarawak is very glaring.

While the road network has reached 35,734 km in the peninsula by 2009, the combined road network in Sabah and Sarawak is only 10,171.

“Sabah and Sarawak are in dire need of a massive upgrade of its road networks, especially considering that its oil and gas resources have contributed largely to indirectly funding the infrastructure development in the rest of the country.

“Pakatan Rakyat undertakes to commence the design and construction of the Pan-Borneo Highway connecting Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and east coast of Sabah as part of its promise to bring development in Sabah and Sarawak to be at par with the rest of the country.

“A Pakatan Rakyat federal government will also undertake to assess the financial impact and viability of upgrading and extending the rail networks in Sabah and Sarawak which currently stands at 134 km.” It said. 

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