Pakatan lawmakers seeking court declaration on Sabah's revenue share rights

KOTA KINABALU: Twelve Pakatan Harapan MPs and assemblymen have filed a claim in the High Court here seeking a declaration on Sabah's entitlement to a 40% share of Federal revenue.

They are seeking, among others, a declaration that Sabah is entitled to 40% of revenue derived by the Federal Government from the state annually to be "respected and delivered" as stated in the Constitution.

Their lawyer Datuk Nelson Angang said they were seeking a declaration of the state's 40% revenue rights under Article 112C and Section 2(1) of Part IV of the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution that "still applied and (is) enforceable."

In their originating summons filed on Friday (June 3) against the government of Malaysia and the government of Sabah, they also sought for Putrajaya to disclose to the state government the amount of net revenue it derived from Sabah annually.

Angang said they were also seeking a declaration that any review done under Article 112D of the Constitution must be based on an amount that reflects and equals the amount due to the state under the provisions of the Constitution.

Angang, who is Parti Upko secretary-general, is leading a team of lawyers representing the MPs and assemblymen, said they also wanted a declaration that the RM26.7mil special grant annual payment for 1969-1973 should not remain enforceable and must be based on the 40% revenue share.

They are also challenging the 2022 review agreeing to an RM120mil annual special grant payment between the federal and state governments, and are seeking to nullify it.

Among the 12 to file the originating summons were Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Christina Liew (Tawau MP and Api Api assemblyman), Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau (Tuaran MP), Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon (Tanjung Papat assemblyman).

On the question of locus standi for filing the suit, Angang said that they had all sworn to protect the federal and state constitutions.

On a constitutional provision to appoint an independent arbitrator in the event of a dispute over the quantum, he said the issue did not arise if the amount paid by the Federal Government was disputed.

Angang said the court action came about as Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said Sabah's 40% entitlement was no longer applicable.

"They are asking for several court declarations with regard to Constitutional guarantees for Sabah in terms of revenue," he added.

The Opposition lawmakers told a press conference that the Finance Minister's statement in Parliament was a clear breach of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

"We can no longer ignore the continuous infringement of the Constitutional rights of the people of Sabah," the lawmakers said jointly.

They said Sabah's special position in Malaysia was to help the state develop but after 59 years, eight of the 10 poorest districts in Malaysia were in Sabah, which recorded a poverty rate of 19.9% against the national level of 5.6%.

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