August 11, 2008

Terengganu Eyes RM2b Oil Royalty

By Rosli Zakaria

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu government expects to receive RM2 billion or more in oil royalty next month.

It is also working with the Treasury on the arrears due to the state since payment was stopped in 2000, Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said yesterday.

The RM2 billion is based on the current price of crude. The state's annual oil royalty in previous years was between RM1.2 billion and RM1.4 billion.

"The people will get back what is rightly theirs. With the oil royalty back in the state's coffers, we can plan and carry out projects that are people-centric," Ahmad said at a unity gathering organised jointly by the state government and Umno.

He said the high crude prices had also prompted Petronas to consider activating old oil wells to maximise production.

"It is now economically feasible to activate the old oil wells. The reserves in such fields may be more than adequate to cover the production costs."

He said the government would not spend the oil windfall on mega projects.

Instead, it will support projects that give direct benefits to the people, especially in increasing their income. One such project is the free distribution of oil palm seedlings to villagers who have idle land around their house.

"We will give them five to 15 seedlings to be planted around their houses. In three years, the owners can start harvesting the fruits.

"If you have 10 trees, for example, you can get an average income of RM300 a month. This has been implemented in several states and it has been successful."

Ahmad cautioned government servants and politicians not to use their positions to accumulate wealth.

"If you want to be rich, be a businessman. The government is not the place for you to become rich."

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