Sunday, June 15, 2008


Khairy tells Petronas to show accounts


Umno Youth Deputy Chief Khairy Jamaluddin is joining the chorus of calls for the Petronas accounts to be made public. Stressing that the public “has the right to know”, Khairy said it was necessary for the accounts to be revealed to answer questions on why the National Oil Corporation was unable to absorb the high cost of fuel in the country with its profits. “I will bring it up in Parliament andl will ask the Government to make it public,” he told reporters after presenting RM5,000 in donation to Seri Mengasih Centre, a school for the intellectually disabled in Tanjung Aru here, on behalf of Sabah Umno Youth. He said although the Government had given various incentives to cushion the fuel prices increase, Khairy believes the people in Sabah as well as others throughout the country, were still suspicious. The people frequently asked why Malaysia, as an oil producing country, was not able to absorb the rising costs. As the Barisan Nasional backbencher, Khairy finds it difficult to explain to the people on the matter as he himself is also in the dark. “I do not know why it (Petronas) is not revealing its account in detail. I believe the people have the right to know as fuel found in the country belongs to the people. “Petronas is one of the best run companies and lam sure there is nothing that we cannot defend in their accounts. If detailed information on its accounts is not revealed to the public, the people will continue to be suspicious. I hope the Government will consider publicly revealing the detailed accounts of Petronas,” said the Rembau Member of Parliament, who is on a two-day visit to the State where he will be visiting Sandakan and Tawau. Khairy believes Petronas, a respected international oil company listed under the Fox500, would be able to give a full account of its operations - the cost of production, its various commitments to Government, like royalty as well as its profits. “This will give a clearer picture and people can see for themselves whether Petronas can pay higher oil royalty. Only when the accounts is made public, then we would know the exact amount of royalty that should be paid to Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu, the three oil producing states in the Country. “We need to find out first (the profits made by Petronas) before deciding if additional royalties should be paid. These three oil producing States are still lagging behind in terms of development and should probably get more (royalties), but we need to find out if Petronas is able to pay extra to these States,” he said, adding that he did not know why Petronas accounts had never been made public in the past. Believing that Petronas has nothing to hide, he added that it would make it easier for Government MPs to explain to the people if accounts were made public. Petronas President and Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican was recently quoted as saying that it had paid the Government RM335.7 billion since its incorporation and now faces large rises in exploration costs at a much higher rate than the increase, in percentage terms, of oil prices. On another development, Khairy also urged Petronas together with other oil companies like Shell and Murphy Oil to consider investing in setting training centres in Sabah to equip local youths in petrochemical, oil and engineering fields to meet requirements of the industry here. He said locals should be employed in the sector, instead of hiring experts from Peninsular and overseas. On the protest rally over the fuel prices hike on Friday which failed to draw 20,000 people as hoped by the organisers, Khairy said the Opposition’s approach was not favoured by the people. “Malaysians are rejecting demonstrations but this does not mean the people have accepted the Government’s decision to cut subsidies on fuel. I believe the people are still unhappy with the fuel prices hike but the Opposition’s approach (to hold a rally) is not being accepted by the people,” said Khairy. He stressed that no amount of shouting and street demonstrations would bring down the international price of oil. On a question about an agreement for a leadership change between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Khairy declined to comment.