KUALA TERENGGANU, 1 Jan 2009: The federal government paid the Terengganu government RM408.6 million in oil royalty on 12 Dec 2008 and the state will receive royalty directly from Petronas from March, Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said.
He said the federal government had also surrendered total management of the oil royalty to the state government.
As such, it was needless for the opposition to raise the issue during the campaign for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, he added.
“I am saddened that the opposition continues to raise irrelevant and incorrect issues,” he said today at the official launch of the by-election media centre set up by the Information Department and the state government.
Ahmad said the opposition claim that the oil royalty did not benefit the people was baseless, and explained that the state government had brought much development after it took over the state in the 2004 general election.
He said much of the oil royalty or special fund was channelled to education programmes, including providing scholarships and giving free tuition. This, he said, has enabled Terengganu to obtain excellent results in the UPSR and PMR examinations.
Ahmad said that various programmes had been draw up to help the poor, including by way of the ladang rakyat (people’s plantations) for oil palm cultivation.
He also hit out at the opposition for continuing to harp on the issue of phantom voters, adding that the Election Commission has always ensured transparent and impartial elections.
“When they (the opposition) won in five states in the last general election, they did not raise the issue of phantom voters,” he said.
Meanwhile, Information Department director-general Datuk Abdullah Murad said the media centre in Jalan Pejabat here would operate from 8am to 2am until 18 Jan and provide various facilities including workstations, computers, wi-fi, fax machines, and press conference and meeting rooms.
“Every morning, we will hold a briefing for the media,” he said, adding this would help in accurate news reporting.
Abdullah said media personnel could obtain the latest information on programmes attended by federal and state leaders at the media centre or by surfing http://media.inform.gov.my/e-press/.
He said the Information Department had processed 204 applications for media accreditation cards for the by-election.
Nomination for the by-election is on Jan 6 and polling on Jan 17. — Bernama