PAS President and Marang Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang urges the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government must now put things right for the East Coast people and pay them their dues.
He says, despite him shaking hands with UMNO and Barisan Nasional before the last General Elections, that does not mean he has forgotten nor forgiven the Barisan Nasional for having refused the rights of the people in Kelantan and Terengganu.
There must be a return to the concept of the agreement. If the Federal Government has other approaches, it would still need to award us our rights, but the state and Federal can negotiate (in cash or in kind)
He was referring to the issue of oil royalty which has long been a thorn in the relationship between the previous Federal Government of Barisan Nasional and the East Coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu.
He said that as PH had stated that it will not plunder the people’s rights like the previous BN government, Putrajaya must keep to their word and pay up the oil royalty to Kelantan and Terengganu.
In 2000, this tension heightened when the Barisan Nasional (BN) government decided to stop payment of oil royalty after it lost the Terengganu state government to PAS in the 1999 General Elections.
From 1978 to 2000, Terengganu received about RM7.13 billion in royalties and reaped other economic benefits.
However, the UMNO General Assembly decided to stop the payment and in 2001, the state government took the case to court.
In 2012, a settlement was reached between Petronas, the then Federal Government and the then PAS Terengganu State Government.
Speaking after the last General Election, Abdul Hadi says that despite the settlement, Petronas and the Federal Government still has much to pay up from the oil that was extracted from the East Coast states.
In GE14, PAS won Kelantan and Terengganu while BN was ousted as Federal Government by Pakatan Harapan.
"According to the law, the natural resources of the state belong to the state one hundred percent. What is in the sea has yet to be decided fully - perhaps it belongs to the federal government, I am not sure how many nautical miles away (from the beach).
"They then decided to solve and set up the petroleum center of Petronas. They made the agreement with the state government that if there was oil, be it on land or sea, five percent of the royalty has to be given to the state, five percent to the Federal Government and the rest will be given to Petronas and the other companies working together. That was the signed agreement.
"Unfortunately, Terengganu got it since 1975 to 2000 only. The last payment was nearly RM800 million in the year 2000. When the price of oil increased, a royalty of one billion ringgit was supposed to be paid to the state. But it was agreed in the UMNO General Assembly to cancel the royalty. What right has the UMNO General Assembly to cancel the royalty? Therefore, the UMNO Assembly has gone against the agreement, against the concept of federalism."
"From the year 2000 till now, it has yet to be calculated how much the state is owed. At the same time, there was a finding of petroleum in Kelantan. There was also the same agreement (between Kelantan and Federal Government), as all Chief Ministers had to sign the agreement - between Federal and State Governments, and Petronas," Hadi says, still riled over the broken promise by BN.
He said that Kelantan and Terengganu state government have had to withhold development because of this too.
Abdul Hadi adds that he understands that there is much debt to be paid by the Pakatan Harapan government from the follies of the previous BN government, but he is not asking for a lump sum.
He pointed out that he is willing to negotiate, whether the payment be in cash or kind, but the utmost thing is for the Federal Government to agree to pay up.
"What is important is that the PH Federal Government must be prepared to return to the agreement.
"There must be a return to the concept of the agreement. If the Federal Government has other approaches (to the agreement), it would still need to award us our rights, but the state and Federal can negotiate (in cash or in kind)," says Abdul Hadi.