KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 ― The decision of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) to divest any stake or change its holding portfolio was never made under pressure to pay dividends to the government, Utusan Malaysia reported today.
Its president and chief executive officer, Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik Aziz, reportedly said the cash flow of the country’s oil and gas company is also in good condition and enough to fulfill its commitment.
According to Tengku Muhammad Taufik, driven by good product prices, continued operational resilience and commercial excellence, Petronas has generated sufficient cash flow for working capital and debt repayment.
“Obviously, when we test dividend payments, it is within our ability parameters.
“It means, before we make the decision to stop investing, [our financial position] is already healthy,” he told the Malay language daily yesterday.
Tengku Muhammad Taufik stressed that any business decision made by Petronas is not due to external pressure, especially from the government.
He added that any request from the government would go through a thorough evaluation by the management and board of directors which only if the request did not affect the company’s ability to complete its commitment and in line with the Companies Act 1965, would it be approved.
“In the latest case, additional demand occurred after the projected oil price rose in the second half of this year and remained at US$75 (RM313.91) to US$83 (RM347.40).
“So, we can see a situation where the projections and analyses show our ability to pay. So, don’t associate the cessation of investment with any pressure to pay dividends,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik.
Last August, Petronas reportedly announced an additional dividend payment of RM7 billion, bringing the total dividend paid by the company to the government to RM25 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Tengku Muhammad Taufik also expressed Petronas’ readiness to give its commitment to the Cukai Makmur (Windfall Tax) that will be imposed in the year of assessment 2022.
According to him, his party understands the need for the implementation of the one-time windfall tax which is expected to help the country out of the pandemic crisis.
“My discussions with the Ministry of Finance described it as a one-time tax, so we can make a commitment.
“Hopefully, it will be aimed at the recovery of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as preparations for other pandemics.
“In fact, we are also assured that after that, the situation will return to normal. We stick to that,” he said.