Petronas ready to bare all next week

Posted by SM Maulana
Monday, 16 June 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Petronas will explain its accounts next week, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said yesterday.
The national oil corporation’s president and chief executive officer, Tan Sri Hassan Marican, said he would respond to calls for the company to make its accounts public, but he did not mention a date.

Nor Mohamed, who had a meeting here with ministry officials, said: “There are those who say, ‘why not use Petronas money to pay for the fuel subsidy?’

“But as a government that is entrusted by the people, we have to make sure our revenues are spent prudently.

“We can’t simply spend all our revenue on the people of this generation.

“What will happen to our children in the next generation and beyond?”

He said the level of fuel subsidy advocated by the opposition parties would be costly and would not benefit all equally – even foreigners from neighbouring countries would enjoy the perks.

Two days ago, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin had urged Petronas to make its accounts public.

“If detailed information on its accounts are not revealed, people will continue to be suspicious,” he said.

Nor Mohamed said the government had also considered a system of quotas in which vehicle owners would be entitled to a fixed amount in subsidies that could be collected or reimbursed as they buy fuel at market prices.

“For that, however, we have yet to have the proper infrastructure. Hence the decision to use the present system because the postal service already has a network in place for the fuel subsidy rebate.

“Also, about 60 per cent of motorists renew their road tax at post offices.”

On the Inland Revenue Board, Nor Mohamed said higher revenue collection was expected this year.

The initial projection stood at RM2 billion, but could go higher based on the present momentum, he said.

For the first six months of last year, RM800 million was collected while this year, the figure jumped to RM1.1 billion so far, probably on the back of higher crude oil palm prices.

“We are considered lucky because we have oil palm and it has brought about much prosperity to the many people involved. A smallholder who earned RM700 per month a few years back, now earns about RM5,000.”

In Alor Star, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has called on the prime minister to present a detailed Petronas annual financial statement at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat on June 23.

He said this was necessary as the public wanted to know what happened to all the oil money earned by Petronas.

He was speaking after a meeting with Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak in Wisma Darulaman yesterday.

By : Roy Goh

– nst

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