Sabah to calculate its 40% entitlement on its own, says Kitingan

Deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan says the state has asked the federal government eight times for data on this but to no avail.

(FMT) – KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will produce its own computation to claim its constitutional right to 40% of the state’s revenue from the federal government, having already asked Putrajaya eight times to provide the necessary data, says deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan.

Malay Mail reported Kitingan as saying that the state and federal governments have yet to reach a resolution on the matter, with the one-year deadline to resolve outstanding issues under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 drawing near.

“We will get (the data) ourselves and will ask the federal government to approve it. I have seen (the proposal) and it looks good to me,” he said.

Kitingan said Sabah’s calculations would have to be endorsed by the state Cabinet before they are presented to the federal government. He said the Federal Constitution allows the state to appoint an independent assessor for the purpose.

Kitigan’s comments followed a four-hour meeting of the MA63 special technical committee chaired by deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof, during which he had asked for an update on the matter.

Earlier this month, chief minister Hajiji Noor also spoke of the possibility of Sabah activating the constitutional provision that allows the state to appoint an independent assessor to decide on what the federal government is obliged to pay.

Fadillah told FMT earlier this month that the finance ministry is now working on a formula for special grant payments “in collaboration with the governments of Sarawak and Sabah”.

He said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was determined to resolve the issue and had suggested allocating RM300 million as an interim measure while the long-term formula is being worked out.

Under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, Sabah and Sarawak are entitled to receive special grant payments on an annual basis, the terms of which are reviewable every five years.

In the Court of Appeal on Friday, the Sabah government withdrew its opposition to the Sabah Law Society’s (SLS) locus standi to pursue judicial review proceedings over the 40% special grant.

The state government also retracted submissions suggesting that the state’s 40% entitlement under Articles 112C and 112D were merely “aspirational” and not a mandatory or absolute right.

SLS filed its application for leave to commence judicial review proceedings in respect of the matter two years ago, seeking to quash Putrajaya’s decision to gazette a RM125.6 million annual grant for Sabah as not being in accordance with the state’s revenue rights under MA63.

It secured leave of the High Court in Kota Kinabalu last year.

The federal government has appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeal, which is expected to deliver its decision on June 18.