KOTA KINABALU (May 7): The State Government will consider legal action if no feasible agreement is reached in its efforts to get the 40 per cent backdated revenue owed by the Federal Government.
According to Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, the talk on Sabah pursuing the backdated revenue is still ongoing.
“The talk is ongoing, we haven’t stopped talking. The Chief Minister has said it, I have said it, we will consider all legal avenues that are available to us. The Constitution itself provides for an independent assessor and that is one of the options that we can look into if the negotiations fail after some reasonable time,” he said.
Masidi who was met at the state’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri program on Saturday, said this when asked to comment on the issue of the 40 per cent backdate revenue.
“First and foremost it has been announced in the state assembly and all subsequent statements (that) we have not even concluded it. So the issue of us taking or not taking does not even arise.
“In fact as I have stated in the state assembly, both parties have agreed to disagree on the interpretation of the 40 per cent and we will continue to negotiate on it. But what we are saying and what we have agreed on meanwhile, is, don’t leave us with zero.
“That is why we have agreed to take an interim RM125 million per year which the amount will obviously change after we have reached an agreement on the 40 per cent,” he explained.
Masidi is among the lead negotiators in the matter.
Two days ago, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili suggested that Sabah may state its claim over the non-implementation of the 40 per cent revenue entitlement and the alleged sum owed to the state.
Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah R.M. Jasni were among those who attended the state government’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri program here on Saturday.
The program also saw Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor and his wife Datin Seri Julia Salag presenting Raya contribution to a group of special guests comprising the elderly and people with disabilities.
Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Dr Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif said the program reflected Sabah’s real image of diversity among its people.
The 1,000 invited guests were from different religions, ethnicity and political affiliations and that made the program lively.
“Despite different religions, races and political affiliations, the people of Sabah are united. This is the uniqueness of Sabah,” he said.
“Programs and festivals that gather all the rakyat can further strengthen the friendship, harmony between all as one big family of Sabah,” said Arfin who is also the chairman of the event’s organising committee.
Also present at the program which was held at the Sabah International Convention Centre were cabinet members, government officials, political leaders including from Pakatan Harapan Sabah and captains of industries.