Najib: Collecting higher dividends from Petronas to compensate for GST removal unsustainable
KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 â" Datuk Seri Najib Razak today criticised Pakatan Harapanâs plan to collect higher dividends from Petronas, Bank Negara and Khazanah Nasional to make up for zero-rating the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a statement posted on his Facebook account today, Najib said the plan is a fragile one and is unsustainable as it is at the expense of long-term benefits for the sake of short-term funding.
The Pekan MP pointed out that the previous Barisan Nasional government was careful to ensure Petronas did not have to pay dividends to the government beyond its requirements, and for it to maintain a sufficient cash balance to carry out expansion plans in key and downstream business sectors and become a world-class integrated energy company.
He said Petronas' cash reserves rose to RM164.7 billion at the end of March 2018, an increase of RM36.5 billion from RM128.2 billion in t he last three months at the end of 2017.
The increase is attributed to the favourable oil prices as well as the investment payments from Aramco Saudi investment for the Rapid project in Pengerang in Johor.
âPetronasâ cash reserves are way higher that it was in 2008 when I was the Finance Minister,â he said in a statement.
As a result, Petronas' cash balance increased significantly and it was able to invest and expand to implement game changer projects such as Pengerang Rapid,Sarawak Oil and Gas Integration Project (SSIOGP) and the Sabah Ambon and Urea (Samur) project.
At the same time, Petronas was also given the freedom to invest in major upstream projects in Malaysia and in other countries like Canada, Iraq and Brunei.
These investments will be able to generate high dividends for Petronas and Malaysia in the long run.
âWe invest to ensure long term benefits,â said Najib.
Yesterday, in an interview with radio station BFM, special officer to the finance minister Ong Kian Ming disclosed the method on how the government plans to make up for the zero rating of GST which will result in shortfall of RM21 billion a year.
Ong said the government will seek additional revenues from higher corporate taxes, as well as increased special dividends from Petronas due to the increase in global oil prices with a sustainable projection for 2018.
The special dividend will also come from BNM and Khazanah Nasional, said Ong.
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