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Petronas RM600 billion profit: Where has it all gone

Petronas RM600 billion profit: Where has it all gone

So the figure has been revealed. Petronas’ group profit before taxes, royalties, dividends and export duties amounted to RM570 billion for the period from its establishment in 1974 to 31 March 2007.

If you include the figure for the period until 31 March 2008, then you are probably looking at a figure closer to RM700 billion, with the higher oil prices.

Let’s see the breakdown of that RM570 billion:

Payments to the government (royalties, export duties, taxes and dividends) – RM359 billion

Allocations for shareholders, royalties and taxes abroad – RM41 billion

Profits re-invested in Petronas operations – RM170 billion

Total RM570 billion

(In case you are wondering where I got these figures from, they are from an oral response in Parliament to a question put forward to the Prime Minister by the MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng.)

So the government has received RM359 billion from Petronas over the years. If we include the year ended 31 March 2008, the figure would be in the RM400 billion range.

The big question is, has the government made the best use of all that money? You and I know the answer to that. If the money had been used effectively, we could have provided affordable housing for everyone in this land, invested in an excellent public transport system and come up with a first class public health care system providing universal access to all Malaysians.

But have we? Look how much has been wasted and squandered over the years. And let’s not forget all the natural gas subsidies dished out by Petronas to the Independent Power Producers (private electricity companies), which have been raking in billions in profits over the years. And don’t forget the billions spent on bailing out banks.

It is truly a lost opportunity, considering that we will soon become a net importer of oil in a few years’ time.

Why, very few Malaysians have access to Petronas’ detailed accounts. Where is the accountability and transparency in the use of these massive amounts of public funds?

About me

In “my previous life”, I trained and worked as a chartered accountant in England before returning to Malaysia to be immersed in corporate life.

Well, you know what they say about accountants being boring! Before long, I found myself drawn to journalism and writing about human rights and socio-economic justice issues. I have always believed that we can build a more just and compassionate world.

These days I mostly write for Aliran Monthly, Inter Press Service, Asia Times, The Herald – and this blog! Inspiration isn’t always at hand, though – so grab yourself a cup of coffee and come share your thoughts with me. 

6 Responses to “Petronas’ RM600 billion profit: Where has it all gone?”

  1. yh on June 3rd, 2008 at 5.04pm

ask the big spenders Mahatir and Badawi. How they enrich their cronies in the name of NEP. How sad when Terengganu has the largest budget but end up as one of the poorest. the same goes with Sabah. Wonder the ruling politicians have no conscience as they… plunder while the people suffers. And they are doing it for the sake of their kind? what rubbish.

  1. K S Ong on June 3rd, 2008 at 5.38pm

When we are still a net exporter of oil, we should be celebrating with the high oil prices. Yet, our government complain about the fuel subsidies. I am sure most people cannot understand the reasons why unless clearly explained to us.

Record prices in palm oil and rubber have seen bumper profits from plantation companies. Even rubber tappers are earning more than some executives while enjoying the lower costs of living in the rural areas.

  1. matt on June 3rd, 2008 at 5.53pm

It starts with the mistress, cronies and of course jets, holidays, concerts the list goes on and on.

  1. Patriot on June 3rd, 2008 at 6.17pm

The oil monies could have been spent on improving the mass rapid transit rail with increased coverage/efficiency so there is less dependence on using private vehicles to commute to work. With our deep reserves in LNG, this government could/should have encouraged conversion of hybrid vehicles which uses LNG and petrol, together with the infrastructure for distribution of such fuels. So is there vested interest at play? Also in time the national car could also see self destruction as other global car manufacturers are moving to hybrid electrical and petrol vehicles whilst we slumber with propping up of inefficient technologies. Nero fiddles whilst Rome burns !!

  1. anak malaysia on June 3rd, 2008 at 6.59pm

Masa untuk kerajaan baru: kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat!

  1. Samuel Goh Kim Eng on June 3rd, 2008 at 7.13pm

Oh how elusive and slippery is the oil money
Not shared so well in hives like bees’ honey
No wonder so many have to work hard as donkeys
While some enjoy the fruits like privileged monkeys

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 030608
Tue. 3rd June 2008.

Petronas’ RM600 billion profit: Where has it all gone?



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