Thursday, 18th March 2010
Former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam appeared tonight to back Kelantan’s oil royalty claims, when he said that the state government should be allowed to manage federal funds whether they are called oil royalties or goodwill payments.
He said such funds should be paid directly to the state government in accordance with the law and should not be channelled through special committees.
In an interview with Astro Awani tonight, Musa said the funds must be paid to the state government because the aim of such payments was for the public’s benefit.
“Whether it is goodwill payments or oil royalty that is not important. As long as they use it for development for the people.
“We should establish a system where we can monitor the funds even if the powers are given to the state government,” he said.
Musa’s comments come amid his Umno colleague Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s campaign to back Kelantan’s oil royalty claim.
Putrajaya is adamant that it will not pay one sen of oil royalty to Kelantan for oil and gas extracted in a shared production block off its waters.
Instead the government will pay out RM20 million to the Kelantanese people via federal agencies in what it calls a goodwill payment, similar to the mechanism it used in Terengganu between 1999 and 2009 when PAS was in power.
Tengku Razaleigh also warned Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) today that the ruling coalition could lose crucial votes in the next general election if the federal government continued to deny Kelantan’s oil royalty claims.
For the past few weeks, Umno leaders have stopped attacking the Gua Musang MP, concerned that verbal assaults will push him into the arms of the opposition and provide Pakatan Rakyat with a strong leader should Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim be convicted of sodomy.
But the politician, popularly known as Ku Li, is slated to question why Putrajaya withheld oil royalty payments to Terengganu during the PAS reign in the state, and raise questions on how the federal government used funds owed to the state government.
Musa, who was once politically aligned with Tengku Razaleigh in a rivalry against former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1987, acknowledged tonight that his remarks may cause restlessness among current party leaders.
“When you hear my remarks it is not ‘mainstream’. Some may say it is closer to Tengku Razaleigh’s views. But do not misunderstand me... to say that Musa is back with Tengku Razaleigh. No, we are old so don’t worrylah.”
But Musa said he believes that Tengku Razaleigh knows what he is standing up for in his fight for Kelantan.
“I believe he is well versed with the issue because he was from Petronas before and he was in government."
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