Jeffrey Kitingan hopeful calls for Sabah rights will be met by Anwar

KENINGAU: Sabah is hopeful that the call for state rights will be answered under the unity government led by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The state Deputy Chief Minister said among the rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963, the state hopes the federal government will honour the financial rights for the 40% net federal revenue earned from Sabah to be returned to the state based on Constitutional provisions.

"I know the new Prime Minister very well and he knows about our demands.

"So, I hope that with the (state and federal) cooperation that we have right now, we’ll get to see better results with regard to the demands of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysian federation," Kitingan told reporters after launching the closing of the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve event in Bingkor here Saturday (Nov 26).

Apart from revenue returns, he said that the state was also keen to get 10% export duties on petroleum.

Kitingan, who was also the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) deputy chairman, said that currently Sabah gets a flat RM120mil (from import and excise duties) annually but by right, it should collect 10%s from the duties on petroleum products.

"So, Sabah should be getting about RM1bil (annually)," Kitingan said.

The GRS-led Sabah government has joined Anwar’s unity government.

At the event, Kitingan highlighted the importance of integrating the concept of sustainable development into efforts in uplifting the socio-economic status of society.

One of the ways he said was by innovatively turning activities related to agriculture and fisheries into tourism products.

"This is a paradigm shift that I’d fully encourage," he said in his speech.

In relation to this, he urged the district administration to see to it that the Bingkor Sustainable Tourism Development could be implemented in the 2023-2029 period.

"The plan must emphasise on nature conservation and cultural values of the local ethnic communities as well as encourage agrotourism," he added.

The approximately 350,000ha Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve (CRBR) conservation area had been listed under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Man and Biosphere seven years ago.

The area covered nine administrative districts - Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Papar, Beaufort, Tuaran, Keningau, Tambunan, Ranau and Tenom.

CRBR promotes conservation and development without negatively impacting biodiversity conservation and natural ecosystem services, particularly biodiversity resources and clean water supply.

As of June this year, there are 727 biosphere reserves in 134 countries.

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