|Wong Choon Mei|
| KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26: Pakatan Rakyat leaders slammed Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for picking on Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who has insisted that the federal government was wrong in refusing to pay Kelantan oil royalty payments. |
“The entire issue has become a circus and whether Prime Minister Najib Razak realizes it or not, the biggest clowns are his federal government and the unprincipled way it is trying to twist the matter,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Hrakahdaily.
“This is typical Umno. They are insensitive to the feelings of thecitiz enry. They don't care about their own credibility, what more the country’s or the credibility of other leaders,” PAS legal advisor Hanipa Maidin told Harakahdaily.
In his harshest warning so far to the 72-year old Razaleigh, Muhyiddin questioned his senior’s loyalty to their Umno.
“We are studying the situation. Everybody is aware of the statements and actions that he has taken,” Muhyiddin told reporters on Thursday.
“Even though they are his personal opinion it is not in line with the decision made by the government and party leadership. So we must look at what will happen next and maybe he will realize this in the end.”
The DPM - known for his sluggish style - not only insisted that the federal government was on the right side of the law, but also boasted that it had the support of the Malay intelligentsia in Kelantan.
“Many of the people from Kelantan are lawyers and professionals and can analyse the matter. I have heard statements from the people of Kelantan, especially academicians and those with certificates, saying that the actions taken by the government do not go against the law,” he said.
However, Hanipa and his colleagues questioned the accuracy and truthfulness of Muhyiddin’s words.
“What law is Muhyiddin talking about? In fact, based on the Petroleum Development Act, it is very clear that cash payments are due to be paid and these are to be calculated on a formula of five percent of total oil produced in the state for that year,” Hanipa said.
“Whereas the wang ehsan scheme was something designed by the former PM Mahathir Mohamad. It is an arbitrary figure and entirely up to them how much, when and who to pay. As for saying the smart people in Kelantan understand where Umno is coming from, is he trying to say the rest of the people in Kelantan, the rural folk, are dumb and stupid?"
Explain Terengganu then
Kuala Terengganu MP Wahid Endut also minced no words when he challenged Muhyiddin to explain why the federal government had willing paid Terengganu royalty for years until 1999, when the state government fell to PAS.
“When PAS took control in 1999, Mahathir immediately ordered Petronas to stop paying oil royalty. He came up with wang ehsan only in 2000. But when Umno regained the state government in 2004, Abdullah Badawi who succeeded Mahathir, agreed to reinstate the payment of oil royalty to Terengganu," Wahid told Harakahdaily.
"Not only that, they agreed to backdate the payments to 2000. Their rationale at that time was they didn't want the Terengganu people to lose a single cent. If there is no such thing as oil royalty, then what is all that about. Muhyiddin should explain Terengganu first before he points the finger at others.”