Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kelantan picks Ku Li to champion oil royalty claim

Tengku Razaleigh had previously agreed to mediate the ongoing oil royalty tussle. — file pic
The PAS-led Kelantan government has decided to appoint former Petronas chairman, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, as the state government’s representative in discussions on the oil royalty with the federal government.
Chairman of the State Committee on Financial Planning, Economy and Welfare, Datuk Husam Musa, said the decision was made at the State Executive Council (Exco) meeting chaired by Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, today.

He said the meeting also decided that Tengku Razaleigh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Gua Musang, should resolve the issue on the claim within four months beginning today.

“The official letter on the appointment will be sent to Tengku Razaleigh in the near future,” he told reporters after the Exco meeting.

The Kelantan state government insists that the federal government pays it an oil royalty instead of a compassionate payment, but the latter fought the claim by saying the state was not eligible for the royalty as the two disputed oil wells were located more than three nautical miles off the state’s coastal waters.

The two oil wells are located 150 nautical miles off the Kelantan waters and the federal government had agreed to pay RM20 million compassionate fund to the people of Kelantan, which represented the first payment of five per cent of the revenue from the two oil wells since 2008.

Husam said Tengku Razaleigh’s appointment did not involve any payment from the state government.

Asked whether the Umno veteran leader accepted the appointment, Husam, who is also the State Assemblyman for Salor, said the appointment was based on Tengku Razaleigh’s agreement to be the mediator in resolving the oil royalty issue which had been dragging on between the state and federal governments. — Bernama

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