Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 4th July 2009:
Call for public inquiry on how the half-a-trillion ringgit contributed by Petronas to government past 33 years and the RM15.2 billion ringgit royalty to Terengganu from 2000-2009 have been properly spent and accounted for
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir has raised a very pertinent question – where have the close to half-a-trillion ringgit, to be exact RM426.6 billion, of petro-ringgit from Petronas to the government in the past 33 years since 1976 gone?
Since 1976, payments by Petronas to the Federal Government are as follows:
Mahathir wrote in his blog that during his 22 years as Prime Minister between 1981 and 2003, Petronas paid RM168.8 billion to the government.
However, that figure jump dramatically in recent years due to the sharp hike in global oil prices. The total for the six years after Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister is RM253.6 billion.
Mahathir asked:“I am sure the Government had spent the money wisely. It would be interesting to know what the RM253.6 billion was spent on.”
Mahathir was speaking tongue-in-cheek when he said that he was sure that the government had spent the money wisely, when everybody knows that he is trying to make the point that prudence was the last consideration in the expenditure of the RM253.6 billion Petronas petro-ringgit to the government coffers after he stepped down from his 22-year-hold as Prime Minister in October 2003.
But Mahathir is right. Malaysians have a right to know how these RM253.6 billion paid by Petronas to the Federal Treasury in the past six years had been spent.
Malaysians have a right to go one step further, to demand how the half-a-trillion ringgit contributed by Petronas to the government in the past 33 years, made up of RM4.2 billion under the premiership of Tun Hussein, RM168.8 billion under Tun Mahathir and RM253.6 billion under Tun Abdullah had been spent and to demand a full accounting.
There is another item, how the RM15.2 billion ringgit royalty to Terengganu government from 2000 to 2009, but hijacked by the Federal government when the Terengganu state government fell to PAS, had been spent and to demand a full accounting – especially when there is such blatant and even criminal wastage, ostentation and extravagance in the way the Barisan Nasional hijacked and misused the Petronas royalty money for Terengganu.
For this reason, DAP calls for a public inquiry on how the half-a-trillion ringgit contributed by Petronas to Federal Government in the past 33 years and the RM15.2 billion ringgit royalty to Terengganu from 2000-2009 had been spent and to give a full accounting.
Such a public inquiry and full accounting of the RM426.6 billion of Petronas contribution to the Federal Treasury in the past 33 years and RM15.2 billion ringgit of oil royalty to Terengganu in the past nine years are urgent and imperative, especially as Mahathir had set many bad precedents of abuse and misuse of Petronas ringgit in his 22 years as Prime Minister.
This was why DAP MPs and I down the decades had demanded in Parliament for proper parliamentary accountability of the Petronas billions but which have fallen on deaf years.
Now, it would appear that the latest convert to the demand for proper public and parliamentary accountability of Petronas billions to the Federal Treasury is none other than Mahathir himself! I welcome him to our ranks.
When he was Prime Minister, Mahathir had not bat an eyelid to misuse Petronas billions to bail out dubious rojects, the most infamous being the RM2 billion bailout of his son Mirzan Mahathir’s then main public listed company, shipping concern Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd (KPB) in 1998 when KPB was floundering in billion-ringgit debts with Its share price falling to RM3.78 by February 1998, a fraction of its pre-financial crisis level of RM17 plus.
Other occasions when Petronas was used as a national piggy bank to bail out financial scandals were:
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor