KOTA KINABALU (May 7): The Federal government should be fair and uphold the Federal Constitution in returning Sabah’s 40 per cent net revenues under Article 112C and Part IV of the 10th Schedule in the Constitution and its mandatory five-year reviews under Article 112D.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also the chairman of the State Cabinet Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and State Rights, made the call in a statement on Saturday.
Jeffrey said the Federal Government should also adopt a similar stand in relation to the returning of a fair and equitable amount to Sarawak under the same Constitutional provisions although the 40 per cent is not explicitly provided as in Sabah’s case.
He was responding to the media reports that Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, the Federal minister in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Ongkili was reported to have said that a protest should be lodged that the 40 per cent revenue should be returned to Sabah upon which he can than call for a meeting to discuss the matter.
“Regardless of whatever the opinion and by who, it is explicit in the Federal Constitution and a basis for Sabah to agree to form the Federation of Malaysia, that 40 per cent of the net revenues derived by the Federation ought to be returned to Sabah.
“And the Federal minister and every member of the Federal Cabinet and each and every Member of Parliament has taken the parliamentary oath of office and sworn to uphold and protect the Federal Constitution.
“There is, therefore, no issue and no excuse for the Federal government not to return the 40 per cent revenues derived from Sabah. After all, in any mandatory review under Article 112D, the financial position of the Federal government is counter-balanced by the needs of the State which is much more than the position of the Federation,” said Jeffrey who is president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku.
According to him, neither is it a valid excuse for the Federal government to deny the return of the constitutional 40% to Sabah on the basis that the financial position of the Federal government does not permit the return.
Other than “an agreement” by the Warisan Sabah government with the Pakatan Harapan Federal Government for the 40% entitlement to be increased to RM53.4 million, RM53.4 million, RM80.1 million, RM80.1 million and RM106.8 million for the period 2020 to 2024, there were no reviews of the entitlement as mandatorily mandated under Article 112D after 1969.
The Barisan Nasional maintained the RM26.7 million from 1974 until 2018 and was continued by the PH government until 2019. RM53.4 million was then paid in 2020.
The GRS Sabah government did not agree to the paltry RM53.4 million and it was revised to RM125.6 million for 2022 pending further negotiations on the final amount payable.
The opposition Pakatan Harapan and Warisan parties should stop hoodwinking Sabahans of their so-called calls to increase the 40 per cent entitlement. During their time in government, they failed the Sabahans by agreeing to pay and agreeing to accept only RM53.4 million.
Regardless of the on-going negotiations, he said the Federal government should treat Sabah and Sarawak fairly and uphold the Constitution and pay what is constitutionally, legitimately and lawfully due to Sabah and Sarawak. This is more so, both Sabah and Sarawak desperately need the revenues to be returned for their development for the benefit and welfare of Sabahans and Sarawakians.
To avoid future problems, he said if is also time for all three governments to agree to a mechanism for the collections of the revenues in Sabah and Sarawak with immediate disbursements to all three governments. The Federal government should not be taking the shares of Sabah and Sarawak and leave both of them destitute while misappropriating the lawful revenues of Sabah and Sarawak for the development of Malaya.