Saturday, May 28

Federal Govt obliged to uphold constitution if no negotiation initiated

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Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Simon Sipaun

KOTA KINABALU (May 13): The issue on 40% of Sabah’s revenue collected by the Federal government as stipulated in Article 112C of the Federal Constitution is still a hotly debated issue.
According to former Sabah State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Simon Sipaun, the Federal Government and the State Government should conduct an orderly negotiation to resolve this issue.

“However, such negotiations should not extinguish an effect in any way on 40% of Sabah’s rights conferred by Article 112C of the Federal Constitution. Special Grant such as Capitation Grant and Road Grant, and 40% net revenue due to Sabah are two separate and different issues.

“If the Federal Constitution is silent or make no reference for the Special Grant to be negotiated, I rather leave the Constitution as it is and keep on demanding that the Federal Government honours its constitutional obligation to Sabah,” Simon said.

He said during his talk on the webinar of “Negotiate The Special Grant Conferred by Article 112D Thus Extinguishes Sabah’s 40% Rights Conferred by Article 112C of The Federal Constitution?” which was organized by WISDOM Foundation through Facebook and Zoom recently.

He added all that is needed is for the Federal Government to comply with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

“In respect of the 40% net revenue, if the federal government has financial constraint at the moment, payment by instalment would be negotiated,” he said.

As a way forward, the following action can actually be immediately taken whereby the state government inform the federal government the exact amount due to the state government.

”However, there must be a time frame for the exercise. As for the current 40% net revenue being collected, it should be diverted to Sabah immediately while the Federal Government takes away the 60%.

“In other words, Sabah should collect the 40% net revenue due to Sabah at source. It saves the Federal Government the trouble of collecting 100% only to return 40% to Sabah later.

“Through this method, Sabah is assured of getting what belongs to Sabah. Past experience indicates that if the Federal Government collects the 100%, it did not do what it was supposed to do, namely return what was billed to Sabah.

“This might help to improve the financial health of the Sabah government overnight, and the pace of development in Sabah should accelerate considerably and could free Sabah from the vicious cycle of poverty,” said Simon.

Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau

Tuaran Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau pointed out that all matters negotiated under Article 112D should not contradict Article 112C.

Madius also said that the special grant to Sabah must refer to the 40 per cent revenue to the state as enshrined under Article 112C of the Federal Constitution.

“If the views given are different from ours, the State Government’s or the Federal Government’s, then it is best that the matter be submitted to the court to decide which is the correct view,” he said in the webinar.

According to Madius, the negotiations made earlier should only be related to the ability of the Federal Government to make special grant payments.

“Payment in other forms can be made and the consultation should only be on whether the Federal Government can afford to pay or not (40 per cent of Sabah’s rights).

He claimed that a Member of Parliament had also tried to table a motion under Article 18 (2) so that the issue would get wider exposure but it was rejected by certain parties.

According to the UPKO President, the Finance Ministry has stated that the matter has been implemented under 112D and a gazette was made in 1970 and gazetted.

“However, the gazette was kept secret. Why it be kept secret when it is a gazette? Why were we not given what we are supposed to receive? The state of Sabah must get the truth so that the people do not feel cheated,” said Madius.