Sharing stories that will inspire fellow Sarawakians (particularly youths like I) and at the same time awaken our consciousness on the business and political injustices that seems to be prevalent around us. Some of us need a reminder of how we got here too.
Oil prices have plunged more than $20 per barrel since the start of October when Brent was trading at $87 and US crude just below $77 – their highest point since 2014. Both have fallen recently by more than 30% settling at $62 and $53 respectively.
For most smaller or inefficient oil and gas companies, such a drastic plunge would mean an absolute disaster as they try to keep up with increasing costs of extracting the oil.
If you are extracting oil from Saudi Arabian soil the cost per barrel is usually below $10. In places like Sarawak (Malaysia) where most of the oil is in difficult to reach offshore fields, the cost of producing oil averages $40 – $50 per barrel.
Now, the clamoring for Sarawak to manage its own oil resources has also dissipated. In early October 2018 when the price per barrel was at its highest point in more than 3 years there was the threat of secession. By the end of October the price of oil came down to US$65 per barrel and things quietened a bit. Recently, at US$53 per barrel everyone is wondering whether things are going to get even worse.
And it may just happen that way like it did in 2015.
Petronas has again been called to the rescue to help finance Malaysia’s budget which has increased 10.3% to RM314.6 billion. In addition to the regular dividend from Petronas amounting to RM24 billion, Petronas will fork out a special dividend of RM30 billion from its accumulated retained earnings which will be used to pay for, among other things, a RM4.3 billion allocation to Sarawak for 2019 for specific projects, RM1.3 billion more than the previous year. This figure does not include allocations given to the Home Ministry, Health Ministry or Human Resources Ministry for salaries or other running expenditure which is already being provided by the Federal Government.
Sarawak is expected to receive the guaranteed 5% royalty in 2019 amounting to RM1.58 billion (which is about the same amount it was entitled to receive in 2018 based on the current oil price of US$70 per barrel). If you add the royalty plus the allocation they add up to approximately RM6 billion which is equivalent to what 20% royalty.
The state budget for 2018 was set at RM8.3 billion of which RM5.8 billion or about 70 per cent of the total budget was proposed for development expenditure. RM2.5 billion or 30 per cent of the total budget, was proposed for operating expenditure.
You’ve probably seen it: An animated Greenpeace video that’s gone viral, after it was used as a Christmas advert by a British supermarket chain, depicting a baby orangutan telling a child how his home is being lost as more and more forests get cleared for plantations.
No doubt orangutans in the wild are on the decline – there are now just 15,000 in all of Borneo according to WWF for Nature. But while cute baby orangutans tug at the heart, there’s been a lot less interest in the real people of the forest losing their land.
Imagine waking up to find that your land is not really yours, and that some company has been allowed to log right in your backyard. That’s a reality for the native people of Sarawak.
A central problem is they lack the proper documentation that states their claim to the land, even though their families may have always lived there. In fact, outside of towns, only a small amount of land in the state has been surveyed and titled.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg must explain why the state government invested in the development of a children’s specialist hospital in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen (pic) said he had received the report from the Ministry of Finance that the development of the hospital involved an investment of RM600mil through a joint venture between the State Financial Secretary Sarawak and a private company, Zecon Berhad.
“There is no reason for the state government to come out with the investment and be involved in the development of the hospital outside Sarawak while complaining of the poor standard of medical facilities in Sarawak,” he told a press conference here Sunday (Nov 25).
On another note, Chong who is Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumers Affair Minister, said Sarawak cannot continue to be an opposition state, or else it would continue to be left behind in terms of development and distribution of welfare benefits from the federal government to the people of Sarawak. – Bernama
Sarawak’s richest parliamentarian has been reported to be Julau’s MP YB Larry Sng who declared that his and his wife’s assets to be around RM11.78 million to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The MACC reported have been posting their reports on its asset declaration portal which aims to enable members of the administration and parliamentarians to have their assets displayed to the public, based on the government’s decision to prove transparency of its leadership.
In Sarawak Sng was followed by, Sarikei MP YB Wong Ling Biu and his wife with a declaration of assets at RM8.26 million, Puncak Borneo MP YB Willie Anak Mongin who declared his family’s assets at RM4.68 million, and Ba’kelalan MP Baru Bian who declared his and his wife’s assets at RM3.45 million.
Meanwhile, Bernama also reported that the title of the richest MP in all of Malaysia went to Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham who declared his total assets amounted to RM75.8 million – the highest recorded among parliamentarians from the Government as of Nov 24.
Petronas organised a three-day special workshop for 150 Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) Sarawakian students as part of its commitment to continuously support the development of national education and human capital.
According to a press statement, under the BUDI Petronas Programme, the workshop was held from September 21-23 involving selected students from MRSM Kuching, MRSM Betong and MRSM Mukah.
The Programme BUDI Petronas is a collaborative effort between Petronas and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) to support deserving students studying at three MRSMs in the state. Recipients are given financial allowances anually to pay for their school uniforms, textbooks, sports attire, learning aids and other basic necessities. To date, a total of 285 student have benefitted from the programme since 2015.
Getting about his daily life used to be a different experience for Calvin Magudampai, 56, a resident of Kampung Katud, near here. On most days, he said, it would start with a long walk to the river – a trip that included trekking up and down the hill.
“We would wake up as early as 5am and make our way to the river, bringing with us containers to collect water, and walk back to our homes. Mind you it’s a long walk, took us more than an hour,” he said.
Other residents of Kampung Katud and two nearby villages – Kampung Pulutan and Kampung Patiu – would have similar stories to tell about how life used to be in their village.
But things began to change for the better with the implementation of the ‘Planting Tomorrow’ programme, a corporate social investment programme carried out by Petronas in collaboration with Yayasan Sejahtera.
Launched in February 2017, this programme aims to uplift the socioeconomic well-being of identified rural communities in two phases of assistance – the provision of an alternative water supply solution, followed by implementation of sustainable livelihood activities. Through the programme, gravity-fed water supply facilities were installed in the three villages, benefiting about 400 residents.