JELI: The government must look at the country's financial performance before considering the proposal for Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to take over Sapura Energy Bhd (Sapura Energy) to prevent the oil and gas (O&G) company from going bankrupt.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said careful consideration must be taken as the oil and gas industry is a strategic industry and taking into account that Sapura Energy was the world's second largest integrated oil and gas service provider.

“Though the assistance (proposal) does not involve government funds, Petronas belongs to the government so the government needs to think seriously before making a decision.

“We are aware that many other small and medium companies in the industry are in difficulties and Sapura Energy is among the big companies affected,“ he told reporters after the opening ceremony of the Sungai Nibong Bridge, Kuala Balah here today.

The proposed takeover of Sapura Energy by Petronas was recommended by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak during his debate with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC), Kuala Lumpur recently.

Elaborating, Mustapa said small and medium companies had met with him to air their grievances especially when oil prices plummeted since the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We understand their problems and they too have asked for help but before taking any action we need to look at the whole picture,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the Sungai Nibong Bridge, the Jeli MP said after a 40-year wait, the 6,000 Kampung Kuala Balah residents finally realised their dream after the government approved the construction of the RM10.17 million bridge.

“Work on the 237-metre Sungai Nibong Bridge had started since March and is expected to be completed in March 2024.

“It is crucial to have a bridge linking Kuala Balah to the plantation area to facilitate rubber and palm oil production and for the socio-economy of the locals to improve,“ he said.

Mustapa said Kuala Balah has great potential in the agricultural sector as the area is a major producer of maize, pumpkin and watermelon.-Bernama