Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ku Li says federal government is acting like a ‘Godfather’ while Najib claims he will allow the members to decide on Ku Li

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night that he would leave it to party members to decide if action should be taken against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for continuing his campaign against the federal government over Kelantan’s oil royalties claim.

“We have to hear what the party members have to say,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting here.

Najib said his government’s refusal to pay oil royalties is in accordance with the law and was decided upon after consultation with various legal experts.

“The federal government is committed to give the Kelantanese people what they deserve,” he said in justifying his administration’s move to give a “compassionate payment” instead of royalties.

An example of this commitment he said was some RM7 billion worth of allocations that he said have been channelled to Kelantan.

“We did this despite the state being under opposition rule,” he said.

The prime minister refused to comment on a meeting between him and Tengku Razaleigh over the Kelantan oil royalty issue, saying it was nothing but an “old story.”

“There is nothing to talk about, it’s an old story,” he said.

His deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, claimed yesterday that Tengku Razaleigh had met with Najib to discuss the issue.

The Kelantan prince has been outspoken in backing the Kelantan’s PAS-lead state government’s claims and has said that the Najib administration had acted like a “Godfather” in refusing to pay oil royalties to the state.

Tengku Razaleigh said the Federation of Malaya Agreement was signed in 1948 while Malaysia was formed in 1963, and a review was overdue.

“The Federal Government is behaving like a Godfather even though their power comes from the 13 states,” he said in likening Putrajaya’s heavy-handedness to that of the head of a criminal organization.

He added it was not only the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) led states that were unhappy with the Federal Government but also mentris besar of some Barisan Nasional (BN) states.

Despite his campaign against the federal government, Tengku Razaleigh said that Umno had nothing to fear because he is, and remains, a life member of the party.

“I am not a scheming fellow unlike some,” he said, adding a caucus was only a discussion group and a conduit for new ideas which is common in modern democracies.

He said the caucus would not be a voting bloc to oppose the government.

His actions have caused discontent within Umno with Muhyiddin even questioning his loyalty to Umno over the matter.

Tengku Razaleigh and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have been campaigning hard to force the federal government to pay oil royalties as claimed by the state.

Tengku Razaleigh, who founded Petronas, had earlier this week rubbished attempts by the federal government to explain, through newspaper advertisements, its refusal to pay the Kelantan government oil royalties.

He said that even though all of the oil found in Malaysia was located more than three nautical miles offshore, Petronas had nevertheless been making oil payments to various states.

The federal government’s main argument is that oil and gas are extracted from waters that are beyond the three-nautical mile limit prescribed as territorial waters under Malaysia’s Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) No. 7 1969.

But the Kelantan Umno man has pointed out that by that argument, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak should also be deprived of a 5 per cent oil royalty.

news courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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