Tuesday, November 29

No such thing as revenue-sharing between Borneo states and Putrajaya, asserts author


Zainnal (second right) addresses the audience during the forum along with (from left) Teng, Ting and SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang.

MIRI: Political analyst and author of ‘The Queen’s Obligation’, Zainnal Ajamain has rubbished the recent announcement made in the Dewan Rakyat by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that it will take at least a year to come up with a formula for revenue-sharing with Sabah and Sarawak.

He said Lim’s statement was “baseless and without truly understanding” the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“There is no such thing as revenue-sharing between the Borneo states and Putrajaya.

“The Federal Constitution and MA63 is very clear about Sabah and Sarawak’s revenue stream, but the federal government simply uses parliament to take Sabah and Sarawak’s revenue stream,” he said in his address at the ‘Sarawak, Our Future’ forum held at Pustaka Miri yesterday.

Zainnal, who has been studying MA63 for more than a decade, said the federal government has no right to determine the sharing of revenue from Sabah and Sarawak.

“We (Sabah and Sarawak) only collect state money because we do not run the Customs and the Inland Revenue Board. So, the federal government collects it on our behalf.

“But it does not mean they can keep it. The federal government should give it back to us but (instead), they keep it and then they turn around and say revenue sharing. It is our money; just give it back to us,” he said, emphasising that Schedule 10 in Part V of the Federal Constitution clearly states that it is Sabah and Sarawak’s money.

Moreover, he said Putrajaya has failed to pay what is due to Sabah and Sarawak since 1964.

“They still talk as if it is their money. Now, the federal government uses ‘dire financial position’ as an excuse for not paying. It is not a question to determine whether you have money or not. We could say that if you (federal government) do not have money, we take over the North South Highway, or Putrajaya, or the Twin Towers because those were built based on our money. It is not their (federal government) money.

“This means the federal government is not going to pay Sabah and Sarawak anything, ever,” he said, adding he believes Putrajaya will continue to come up with excuses not to pay.

“Why am I saying this? It’s because the same prime minister today was the prime minister in the 90s. In the 90s, we (Malaysia) had a lot of money, he also did not pay.

“What makes you think he will pay now? He will not pay,” he added.

The free-admission forum was organised by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Piasau Branch and attracted over 200 participants.

Among the topics discussed were MA63 and the Oil Mining Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2018. The speakers were Zainnal and former Sarawak assistant minister Datuk David Teng, with SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting serving as moderator.

Former Miri mayor Datuk Lawrence Lai was among those who attended the forum.