Sabah to get a near-five-fold increase in annual grants under MA63, says Ongkili

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will soon get back some of its rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) after five decades of waiting, said Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said among the claims were on annual grant increments, which would be almost five times more than currently.

He said these claims were finally seeing results thanks to a “cordial and sensible” discussion between the state and the federal Finance Ministry recently.

Ongkili said both the federal and state finance ministries had briefed their respective cabinets on Wednesday (Feb 16) on the outcomes of the consultation reached during the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting.

The meeting was held to review annual grants under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, he said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 16).

“It is understood that both sides have endorsed all resolutions,” said the Kota Marudu MP, who congratulated both sides on a “cordial and sensible exchange”.

Ongkili said he was proud of the Sabah government for its determination in getting what it deserved despite a long five-decade wait and the previous non-compromising on each other’s legal claims and constitutional rights.

“The state will receive an increase of almost five times in annual grants, which will be more than twice the amount promised by the then Pakatan Harapan government to the Parti Warisan-led state government.

“This proves the capability and capacity of the GRS (Gabungan Rakyat Sabah) state government in defending Sabah’s rights,” he added.

He said the capability of GRS to preserve good federal-state relations to ensure economic prosperity for Sabahans was also commendable.

Ongkili, who was present during the meeting on Monday (Feb 14) in Kota Kinabalu on behalf of the Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63), said the new grant formula would be signed and officiated jointly by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor at the next council meeting, scheduled early next month.

The JCC meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz on the Federal Government side, while Sabah Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun led the Sabah team, which comprised State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong, Sabah Attorney-General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof, legal advisers and senior finance officers.

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