Motives of 12 Sabah PH leaders questioned

(Borneo Post) – Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri (PKAN) has questioned the motives and timing of the 12 Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders for withdrawing their originating summon on the 40% state entitlement at the most crucial time.

Its president, Datuk Henrynus Amin, said the timing of their announcement was highly suspicious as it coincided with their meeting with the Prime Minister’s political secretary recently.

He said the PM’s political secretary arrived in Sabah to meet the Sabah PH leaders following strong rumours about possible leadership takeover of Sabah PH by former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

“What were the real motives of these 12 Sabah PH leaders who are Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen who unexpectedly and out of nowhere dropped their legal suit?” Henrynus asked in a statement on Wednesday.

He said these 12 Sabah PH leaders should tell their voters and supporters what was discussed during the meeting with the PM’s political secretary.

“Was it about the upcoming state election? Were they told to withdraw their legal suit on the 40% state entitlement?” he asked.

“This begs the question whether or not they were coerced into such decision through clever manipulation, possibly threat and intimidation.”

On Wednesday, the 12 PH elected representatives withdrew their originating summons (OS) to seek a court order that the Federal government recognise and deliver Sabah’s constitutional rights.

In a joint statement Wednesday, they said there was progress made through a technical committee for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council (MTPMA63) chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, whereby two of the three declarations they sought had been agreed to and would be implemented soon.

The 12 representatives are Datuk Ewon Benedick (Penampang Member of Parliament (MP) and Kadamaian assemblyman), Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau (Tuaran MP), Chan Foong Hin (Kota Kinabalu MP), Vivian Wong (Sandakan MP), Senator Noorita Sual.

Datuk Frankie Poon (Tanjung Papat assemblyman), Datuk Christina Liew (Api-Api assemblyman), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang assemblyman), Jannie Lasimbang (Kapayan assemblywoman), Peto Galim (Inanam assemblyman), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas assemblyman) and Awang Hussaini Sahari (former Putatan MP).

Henrynus said the act of withdrawing the legal suit at this crucial time has greatly weakened Sabah’s bargaining position in the fight for the fulfillment of the 40% entitlement.

“They claim to be still fighting for the 40% entitlement, but in actual fact they are now without teeth, and are chewing their way to the Federal Government practically toothless.

“So the act of withdrawing their case in the 40% state entitlement cannot be seen in any other way except as a betrayal of the trust given to them by their voters.”

He said it was no coincidence that a similar court case involving Sabah Law Society’s legal suit for a judicial review of the 40% entitlement due to be heard on 14 Sept 2023 was being postponed to May next year.

“The people of Sabah should be wary of elements within the Federal Government who are deliberately trying to disrupt or stop the legal proceeding on the 40% state entitlement by whatever means?” said Henrynus.

He said after getting appointed into lucrative positions, and perhaps, gaining special favours for their support of the Federal policies, Sabah PH leaders have become complacent and compliant, or even subservient.

Henrynus who was formerly the Member of Parliament for Kinabalu (now Ranau) has described the excuses given by the Sabah PH leaders to withdraw their case as very flimsy, speculative and mere conjecture.

He expressed doubt there would be a second review of the 40% entitlement under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution after only two years.

He said there is nothing new about the 40% entitlement to be on the Federal agenda since matters related to MA63 has always been on the state federal agenda, and the successive Federal Government has set up committees to resolve the state demands for MA63.

“Likewise, there is nothing new about their claim that the Federal Government will increase the state entitlement upon the second review on of the 40% entitlement.

“For the record, the Prime Minister has already announced the increase of the amount payable to Sabah from RM125.6 million in 2022 to RM260 million and then RM300 million to match the amount payable to Sarawak.

“The issue is not about the increase but rather federal non compliance and non enforcement of the 40% formula stipulated under Article 112 C and Part IV, Section 1 (2) of the Fedeal Constitution.

“State entitlement should be based on the 40% formula established by the relevant laws in the Federal Constitution, not based on the arbitrary decision of the Prime Minister to fix any amount based on his whims and fancies.

“Sabah should not be begging to be paid the 40% entitlement when it was a Federal obligation to comply with the financial provisions for Sabah in the Federal Constitution.

“The starting point to discuss the amount of special grant payable to Sabah as provided for by the Federal Constitution is the 40% formula, not the decision of the Prime Minister.”

He said the review provided for under Article 112D was to review the Federal compliance or non compliance, not to change the 40% formula.

He said the revenue due to Sabah is the most crucial part of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 which include the 40% entitlement, and perhaps, this is the last remaining and only meaningful fight.

“The potential loss of the 40% entitlement will be a total shock to all Sabahans in the same light as the State losing the oil and gas right to the Federal Government in 1976.”

Henrynus said the Federal Minister and UPKO President Ewon Benedick, had echoed the assurance made by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, that the 40% entitlement will be resolved within a year or by July 2024.

“This begs the question, why July 2024? Why not October or November 2023? Why wait till after the Sabah state election is held rumoured to be early next year,” he asked.