Wong: Swakians entitled to know how much SST is being paid by oil companies
0 month ago, 17-May-2020
Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh
KUCHING: The people of Sarawak are entitled to know how much state sales tax (SST) are being paid by oil companies so as to justify if the settlement met the RM3.897 billion tax revenue, says Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.
He said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had announced in his State Budget 2019 that Sarawak would be receiving sales tax revenue of RM3.897 billion in 2019.
The Chief Minister proudly announced in his budget speech, ‘This will be the first time the state is expected to achieve such a record high revenue of more than RM10 billion for 2019.’
Did the government receive this RM3.897 billion? I can say without fear of contradiction that it did not. So the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government spent money that never materialised.
The people are surely entitled to know how much of that petroleum sales tax revenue was actually received because we believe that a huge gaping hole was blown in the 2019 budget, he said in a statement today.
He also responded to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzahs statement on Friday (May 15) who said the media was not the place to debate and seek for information concerning the amount of SST being paid.
I would like to know why the media is not the place to ask the government to give the public an honest answer to a very important question. It is the public who deserve to know and the government who owe the public an explanation.
The people of Sarawak will note that, even though this issue of the missing sales tax on petroleum has been in the press for more than a week, neither the Finance Minister (Abang Johari) nor any GPS Minister has come out with an answer of the amount of sales tax paid to the government, said Wong.
The former Second Finance Minister said the public will find it puzzling that the Sarawak government could not come out with a simple answer on the amount of SST revenue received in 2019 particularly when the year has almost reached it halfway mark.
Therefore, I repeat my call on the Finance Minister to come clean and disclose the amount of sales tax on petroleum products received in 2019.
In doing so, I am not putting myself forward as someone special. I am only doing my duty as a representative of the people. The fact that I had been a Second Finance Minister who served under three different chief ministers only show that I have knowledge of the Ministry of Finance, not that I am someone special, he said in response to Abdul Karim, who had in his statement said that Wongs position as an assemblyman and former second finance minister does not put him in a privileged position to seek personal requests on the income and expenditure of the state.
Wong said the other question he had posed to Abang Johari, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, was concerning his declaration that there is a provision of a Contingency Fund in the State Budge to cover the aid packaged he announced.
The Finance Minister announced aid of more than RM2 billion and there is definitely no Contingency Fund that can cover RM2 billion.
I expressed the view that it is necessary to present Supplementary Budgets to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to approve the aid packages. It is unfortunate that the DUN Speaker then issued a written notice to forbid all debates at the DUN sitting on May 11, he said.
Though Abdul Karim had said that Wong could have made use of the DUN Sitting to ask questions pertaining to details of the settlement between the state government and Petronas as well as on SST payments, the Bawang Assan assemblyman said since DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar had issued the notice a few days before the Sitting, how could he be expected to ask questions on the settlement between the government and Petronas.
The Speakers decision is final and I have to abide by it, he said.
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