PAS must use clout to get Putrajaya to pay Kelantan oil royalties, says activist
PAS must use the power it has as a member of the ruling coalition to get the oil royalty payments promised to Kelantan, a non-profit organisation said.
Pertubuhan Royalti Kelantan president Nazri Deraman said PAS must use the influence that it claims to have in the Perikatan National-Barisan Nasional government.
“PAS’ Kelantan MPs, as well as ministers and deputy ministers, need to play a role,” said Nazri.
“And if PAS or any other party fails to deliver this, voters will decide their fate in the next elections.”
“We consider the time now until the general election to be a good time (to deliver on the promise of payment)
“I want to remind the federal government that PAS’ victory in Kelantan in the 2018 general election i is related to this issue.
“I remind the federal government not to take the issue of oil royalty lightly because it will have a political impact not only on the state but on the federal level.”
Kelantan Amanah Youth meanwhile urged PAS MPs to resign if the federal government does not act in favour of the people of Kelantan.
Its chief, Hazmi Hassan, who is formerly a member of the Nazri’s group, said he is disappointed in “useless” PAS leaders who have failed to demand payment.
“This is proof that PAS leaders are useless in the cabinet. The struggle for payment does not come under a political flag but now that PAS is a part of the government, the struggle for royalty is forgotten.
“Kelantan MPs must resign if they fail to uphold the people’s rights,” Hazmi said.
Putrajaya announced in November that oil royalties would not be paid to the Kelantan government because the oil wells were not in the state’s waters.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz told parliament that the government would instead pay the state “wang ehsan” (compassionate payments).
This was in response to a question from Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Pasir Mas-PAS) on whether the federal government would be paying Kelantan royalties for the oil extracted from the wells as claimed by the state government.
Tengku Zafrul added that he was awaiting the outcome of negotiations between the state and federal government over the matter.
Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah told The Malaysian Insight that the state government was still waiting for a date to meet with the prime minister to discuss payment.
“Currently we do not have any information. We still cannot get a date. The last time we met the prime minister to discuss the issue was last year.
“We do not know why the federal government does not want to pay Kelantan as agreed,” Amar said.
Kelantan, under the administration of then menteri besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, filed suit in 2011 against the federal government and Petronas for the payment of royalties for oil extracted from the state.
The suit filed by Kelantan state exco Husam Musa was withdrawn in October 2018 after the Pakatan Harapan government guaranteed payment.
Subsequently, the Kelantan government received an advance payment of RM15.7 million from Putrajaya in September the same year.
However the state government did not agree on the amount, saying the sum represented “wang ehsan” and not royalties. It said the state was owed RM1.03 billion in royalties for 2017.
Kelantan people can sue for payment
Nazri urged Kelantan folk to reject Zafrul’s statement because it clearly contradicted the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974.
He said then prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein had promised the state royalties in parliament.
Under the agreement, each state will receive 5% of the value of petroleum extracted on its territory onshore or offshore, he said.
Petronas founding chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had also said that the law did not allow for “wang ehsan” to be paid in lieu of royalties.
Nazri said the Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012 limits the payment of royalties to oil obtained within three nautical miles of the state’s coast.
He said the matter was the focus of the workshop attended by his organisation, academics and the state government officials last month.
“As a result of the workshop, the Kelantan government rejected the TSA 2012 in the state assembly and we decided that the state is eligible to receive royalties.”
Nazri said he was informed that Kelantan and federal leaders would soon negotiate over the payment demand.
“I believe that a good relationship between the federal and the state government will resolve this issue.
“If it fails, as I said, the people will definitely consider the failure in the next general election,” he said.
Although the state government cannot again file suit after withdrawing it, the people can still make the demand, said Nazri.
“The suit can be brought by the Kelantan people themselves,” he said.
He said the issue of oil royalty payments can be resolved with the establishment of the National Petroleum Council as provided for in the Petroleum Development Act 1974.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT