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Thursday, January 31, 2019

How The Federal Government Robbed Terengganu

Raja Sara Petra
Even though I am officially a Selangorian, I was born in Terengganu so to a certain extent I have a soft spot for that state and it’s a shame that the citizens of the second richest state in Malaysia are the second poorest. Terengganu’s population is smaller than that of the Kelang Valley and yet the federal government is not able to take care of them people there.
Under the Federation Agreement, natural resources belong to the state and oil and gas are considered natural resources, which 100% belong to Terengganu. But then, in 1974, Parliament passed the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) to make it legal for the federal government to take over the oil and gas. All the 13 states were then forced to sign an agreement to hand over the management of their oil and gas to Petronas and in return receive a mere 5% royalty. In 2000, however, the federal government stopped paying Terengganu its 5% royalty in violation of both the PDA and the agreement.
Acts of Parliament, agreements, and legal commitments do not seem to matter to the federal agreement. The agreement with China regarding the ECRL is another case in point. The issue being raised is that the ECRL is not cost worthy and if the people from the East Coast need to go to the West Coast then just take a flight. Why build roads and highways then if they should just fly to wherever they want to go?
The same can be said for the UK. Why build the most expensive railway in the world estimated at RM560 billion if the people can fly to London instead? The issue is not about people getting from point A to point B but about opening up the region and to bring in development plus the transportation of raw materials and finished products. And the other issue is, would the railway now be cost worthy if Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang were under Pakatan Harapan and not under the opposition?

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