Sarawak files lawsuit against Petronas in bid to recover unpaid sales tax

Sulok Tawie

Malay Mail understands that the Petronas owes the Sarawak government RM1.2 billion in sales tax. — AFP pic

KUCHING, Nov 21 — The Sarawak government filed today a writ of summons and a statement of claim against national oil company Petronas, for allegedly failing to pay the sales tax to the state.

Sarawak Law, State-Federal Relations and Projects Monitoring Assistant Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the case was filed at the Kuching High Court Registry by the state government and the state comptroller of the state sales tax.

“As has been mentioned several times before this, Petronas has not paid the state sales tax for petroleum products under the State Sales Tax Ordinance, 1998, which is due to the state.

“As a result, the state government is left with no choice but to commence legal action for the recovery of the unpaid sales tax,” Hasidah said in a statement.

Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg told the state legislative in its recent sitting that Petronas must pay the state sales tax assessed by the comptroller effective from January 1.

He said the state assembly had unanimously passed a motion on the matter last November.

The chief minister also said that if Petronas wanted to reduce the rate of sales tax it owed, then the shortfall must be compensated by the federal government through an arrangement with Petronas.

“This is to ensure that the revenue from the sales tax on petroleum received for this year and for subsequent years, will never fall below the sum estimated in our annual budget,” he said then, stressing that legal action would be taken against Petronas to recover the unpaid tax,

Malay Mail understands that the Petronas owes the Sarawak government RM1.2 billion in sales tax.

However, two foreign oil companies operating in Sarawak’s territorial waters have paid a combined sum of RM1.8 billion in sales tax.

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