Saturday, July 3, 2010

'Petronas uses middlemen to sell crude oil'

Fri, 02 Jul 2010 06:01

By Patrick Lee of fmt

PETALING JAYA: Former land and cooperatives deputy minister Tan Kee Kwong has alleged that state-owned oil firm Petronas was using middlemen to sell its crude oil.

In an open letter to the government, Tan, who is now with PKR, dubbed the middlemen as “option holders” and claimed that Petronas was forced to sell crude oil to them at “ridiculously low prices”.

He also alleged that in its contracts, Petronas had to sell a barrel of oil at a set price to these “option holders” even when price increases on the open market.

“Why does Petronas need to do this? Why can't it sell the crude oil on the open market?” he said, asking Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to reveal these “option holders”.

“You can imagine how much an option holder makes when the crude oil price increases,” he added.

Reveal, Najib challenged

Meanwhile, Tan also pointed out that the billion-dollar Petronas has never tabled its accounts in Parliament.

He cited his experience as a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2006, where PAC had requested the Finance Ministry to allow it to examine Petronas' accounts.

The committee, which comprises MPs from both sides of the divide, was told that Petronas did not come under the Finance Ministry portfolio, but rather the Prime Minister's Department.

“As a GLC (government-linked company), Petronas belongs to the citizens of Malaysia,” said Tan.

The former deputy minister also challenged Najib to open up Petronas' account books for public scrutiny.

"If the government does not dare reveal Petronas' accounts in Parliament, then they have plenty to hide," he said.

Tan added that a former Petronas employee had told him that if the PKR leader found out more about the background and purported political interference, “it would give me a heart attack”.

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