Petronas To Open Its Ledgers To The Public?
The reports come with a major opposition party still calling for as many as 100,000 people to take to the streets at a rally early next month amid growing anger over the cost of fuel in Malaysia, which is heavily state subsidised.
Nor Mohammed Yakcop, the country's second finance minister, told the New Straits Times newspaper that Petronas could open its ledgers to the public as soon as next week as the government looks at cutting the fuel subsidy.
"As a government that is entrusted by the people, we have to make sure our revenues are spent prudently," he said.
The government has forecast that unless subsidies are restructured, it will spend around 10 billion ringgit (3.1 billion dollars) in the second half of 2008 in the face of a global surge in oil prices .
But Nor Mohammed brushed off calls to use the Petronas revenues to finance the subsidy. "We can't simply spend all our revenue on the people of this generation," he said. "What will happen to our children in the next generation and beyond?"
Malaysia hiked its fuel price by 41 percent earlier this month, which raised the price of petrol to 2.70 ringgit (84 cents) per litre.
Opposition groups welcomed the news that Petronas would show how it has spent its money. "The time has come for the full accounting of its stewardship of the country's oil billions," said Lim Kit Siang from the Democratic Action Party. There should be a full explanation with regards to the management of the funds, with nothing hidden from the public," he told AFP.
***** Whether there will be full disclosure or a distilled, abridged version for public consumption remains to be seen. Perhaps Dr Mahathir might come out screaming tomorrow that this is yet another ploy to 'shut him up' from speaking out. If hypothetically Petronas should release a true and verifiable record of its accounts, then apart from Pak Lah, Dr M too will have his hands full answering a lot of inconvenient questions on their roles in the manipulation of the Petronas billions.
Image - Source