Sarawak govt says talks to buy stake in Petronas not discussed in depth

Sulok Tawie
Chong had claimed yesterday that a proposal for Sarawak’s participation in Petronas’ equity was brought up in a MA63 Steering Committee meeting. — Reuters pic

KUCHING, Dec 16 — The Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said today the suggestion by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for Sarawak to buy a stake in the Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) was not discussed in depth in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee meeting.

It said in a statement that details on the matter concerning oil and gas were only deliberated in a separate discussion between the prime minister and the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah.

“Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen is, therefore, not privy to the detailed information with regards to the oil and gas share issues and he is not an authority to divulge any information on such discussion, if any,” it said in response to Chong’s statement yesterday.

It said it must be noted that the purchase of stakes in Petronas’ subsidiary companies cannot be equated with a similar purchase in Petronas proper as the parent company.

“Sarawak have stakes in Petronas’ subsidiaries, namely LNG plants and is an equity partner in the Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis (SMDS).

“As of today, there is no offer yet on the Petronas proper (for Sarawak to buy stakes),” CMO added.

Chong, who is also Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, had claimed yesterday that a proposal for Sarawak’s participation in Petronas’ equity was brought up in a MA63 Steering Committee meeting.

He claimed that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg, who attended the meeting, had indicated he had no objection to the proposal.

He also claimed that the details on the state’s equity participation in Petronas were to be discussed between the prime minister and the two chief ministers.

Chong had said Sarawak’s equity participation in oil and gas production was nothing new, saying that the Sarawak state government was holding a 5 per cent share in Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd, 10 per cent share in Malaysia LNG Dua Sdn Bhd and another 10 per cent share in Malaysia LNG Tiga Sdn Bhd.

He had added the Sarawak government acquired 10 per cent equity shares in Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd in Bintulu in January last year.

Chong had said in April 2018, the Sarawak State Financial Secretary (SFS) announced that the state government had acquired another 15 per cent equity share in Malaysia LNG Tiga Sdn Bhd, increasing the state’s equity participation in the company to 25 per cent.

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