Putrajaya urged to uphold Constitution, return what is owed to Sabah, Sarawak


KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government must be fair to Sabah and Sarawak and deliver its constitutional obligations by returning what is owed to both states, says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The Sabah Deputy Chief Minister said in the case of Sabah, Putrajaya must give back the 40% backdated revenue collected by the Federal Government in the state.

Kitingan, who is also Sabah STAR president, said this was provided for under Article 112C and Part IV of the 10th Schedule in the Constitution.

He said the Federal Government should also adopt a similar stand in relation to returning a fair and equitable amount to Sarawak under the same provisions, although the 40% is not explicitly provided as in Sabah’s case.

“Regardless of the ongoing negotiations, the Federal Government should treat Sabah and Sarawak fairly and uphold the Constitution and pay what is lawfully due to both states,” he said, in a statement here Saturday (May 7).

“Both desperately need the revenues for their development and for the welfare of Sabahans and Sarawakians.”

Kitingan said this after it was reported that minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili had said the Sabah government should lodge a complaint to its federal counterparts saying the 40% tax revenue should be returned to the state.

Sabah Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had earlier told reporters today that the state would consider all legal avenues available constitutionally to pursue the 40% backdated revenue owed by the Federal Government if no feasible agreement is reached.

Masidi, who is among the lead negotiators in the matter, said however that negotiations were still ongoing.

“First and foremost, it has been announced in the state assembly and all other subsequent statements, we have not even concluded the negotiations.

“So the issue of us taking it (legal action) or not, doesn't arise,” he said.

Kitingan said, regardless of any opinion expressed, the return of the 40% revenue to Sabah was explicitly stated in the Constitution, adding it was also a basis for Sabah in agreeing to form Malaysia.

He added every member of the Federal Cabinet and each Member of Parliament has also taken the parliamentary oath of office and sworn to uphold and protect the Federal Constitution.

“There is, therefore, no issue or excuse for the Federal Government not to return the 40% revenue derived from Sabah.

“After all, in any mandatory review under Article 112D, the financial position of the Federal Government is counterbalanced by the needs of Sabah which is much more than the position of the Federation (of Malaysia).

“Neither is it a valid excuse for the Putrajaya to deny the return of the revenues to Sabah on the basis its financial position does not permit it to do so,” Kitingan said.

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