Pengerang: Petronas must not “outsource” and “offload” its moral obligation

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Media Statement by DAP National Political Education Director and DAP Johor Chairman Liew Chin Tong on 15th May 2014 in Kuala Lumpur

As a responsible corporate citizen, Petronas has a moral obligation to ensure that the acquisition of land for the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang is conducted with the highest level of integrity and with utmost care for the local community.

Petronas must not “outsource” and “offload” its moral obligation and corporate social responsibility entirely to the Johor State Government.

Yesterday, Petronas CEO Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar told reporters that the oil and gas giant had no direct dealings with any party acquiring land to build its controversial Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.

Sued for an allegedly illegal purchase of several plots of land in Johor, Petronas has passed the buck to the Johor state government. Conglomerate MPHB Capital Bhd named both Petronas and the Johor government in its lawsuit filed last Friday, accusing the two of “illegally acquiring” seven plots of land in Pengerang for the project.

Further, the Johor State Government is currently attempting to remove and relocate 1,536 graves – some of which have heritage value with over 140 years of history – from five Chinese cemeteries to an undesirable area prone to flooding.

During my visit to Pengerang on 9th May 2014 with Er Teck Hwa, MP for Bakri, and Tan Hong Pin, Johor State Assemblyman for Mengkibol, I personally witnessed and can testify to the undesirability of the intended grave relocation site.

Petronas should also take note that the removal and relocation of graves are being conducted in a hasty manner and have resulted in deep-seated unhappiness among the local community which will hurt Petronas’ long-term reputation. Few reputable international oil giants would want to act in a way that damages local ties and sentiments.

Based on an aerial inspection of the mapped area, I am convinced that there is no need for the removal of the five Chinese cemeteries as they occupy only a tiny portion of total RAPID project land area.

It is time for Petronas to take charge of its long-term investment and not “outsource” and “offload” its moral responsibility as a corporate citizen of the world.

Liew Chin Tong

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