By John Isaac
PETROLIAM Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is in the process of withdrawing its appeal against a High Court’s decision last March to dismiss its application for the court to declare the Sarawak State Sales Tax imposed on it as null and void.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the appeal by the oil corporation was filed before the new Federal Government made any decision of the matter.
“When you want to withdraw (an appeal at the Court of Appeal), there is a procedure (requiring the parties involved to appear) in the court (to make an application for the withdrawal),” he told a press conference after chairing the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council meeting in Kuching.
According to reports in The Edge, Abang Johari, who is also the PBB president, said that the Petronas’ issue was among the matters discussed at length during the three-hour meeting.
“We have a working committee that has the executive power to negotiate with Petronas and the Federal Government under (Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Amar Awang Tengah as the committee chairman) and also another committee under our legislators, the Consultative Committee that will look into the legal implications and our laws that govern our oil and gas industry,” he said.
Abang Johari said beyond the issue of SST on Petronas, the Federal Government since Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took over as the Prime Minister had also set up a committee, jointly-chaired by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Senior Minister of Works, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, to negotiate on other aspects of Sarawak’s involvement in the nation’s petroleum and gas industry.
He said being the leading party of the State-front Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) which also comprised Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), PBB would continue to pursue on its agenda to ensure that the State rights would continue to be protected while partnering with Perikatan Nasional in forming the Federal Government.