Why is a RM127 billion refinery being built in Johor when it is not an oil-producing state?
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) is blowing hot over the planned RM127 billion oil refinery in Johor, claiming it would be an “incalculable” economic loss to Sabah.
Describing the federal government’s decision as “unreasonable” STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan said: “If the federal government was sincere about developing the Borneo states which have contributed tremendously to the national coffer by giving 95% of its oil all these years, it would have decided to build the refinery in Sabah or Sarawak.
“As it is, incalculable losses will be incurred against us [with the refinery being built in Johor]. In the long term, the loss will amount to trillions of ringgits!”
Jeffrey said had the federal government decided to site the refinery in Sabah, it would be the biggest project ever implemented for Sabah and Sarawak.
“Just imagine: the refinery will be processing 300,000 barrels per day while another ‘nearby’ refinery will be built by a Taiwanese firm to process 150,000 barrels per day.
“This will come to a total of 450,000 barrels per day, which is a substantial percentage of the nation’s crude oil production of 700,000 barrels per day.
“And that’s the other unbelievable arrangement about the whole thing. The federal government finds it fit to implement two hyper-projects in the same vicinity.
“I refuse to believe they [federal government] do not see the economic prudence of locating at least the second refinery across the South China Sea for the sake of fairness in economic cake sharing,” he said.
Jeffrey added that it was obvious that the federal government was intent on making Johor “a super-giant” next to Singapore.
“Is the federal government so intent on making Johor a super-giant next to Singapore that it is purposefully pouring in hundreds of billions into Johor, on top of the billions for the mammoth development for Iskandar Malaysia supercity?”
‘Slap in Borneo’s face’
He said with this latest misstep, the Barisan Nasional government has poured insults on the concept of 1Malaysia and the so-called Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
According to Jeffrey, what is obvious now is that Sabah is seen only as a “supplier of raw resources” to Peninsular Malaysia.
“It is obvious we are just functioning as a supplier of raw resources to the Peninsula, which means tremendous losses to us.
“Just imagine the untold losses and missed economic growths we could generate from massive employment, trickle-down effects, infrastructural developments, technology transfers and downstream processing.
“All this could turn the Borneo states [Sabah and Sarawak] into vibrant economic hubs, but the federal government simply cannot help behaving like a hungry colonialist.
“It’s just like what the British did when Sabah and Sarawak were colonies. We are now witnessing how most of our resources are going to the Peninsula.
“This is truly a painful slap in the face of the Borneo states, ” Jeffrey said.