Sabah Pakatan withdraws revenue rights suit against Federal Govt

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Pakatan Harapan has withdrawn its suit against the Federal Government on entitlements under state rights.

In a joint statement comprising 12 representatives, they said this decision was made due to the positive progress pertaining to the claims under the Malaysia Agreement (MA63), and assurance given by the federal government that their claims would be addressed, among other reasons.

They said this is backed by the setting up of a Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council (MTPMA63) chaired by the Prime Minister himself and a Technical Committee for MTPM63 (Technical Committee) chaired by Deputy Prime Minister II.

The purpose of the said committee is to finally deliver the constitutional rights of Sabah and Sarawak as intended in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), they added.

Sabah Pakatan Harapan said in the statement that one of the plaintiffs in their Originating Summons (OS), Datuk Ewon Benedick (pic) has been appointed as a permanent member of the MTPMA63 and the Technical Committee alongside other members from the state government of Sabah.

“It has also been decided by the Technical Committee that the longstanding Sabah’s entitlement based on the 40% formulae shall be one of the agenda in the Technical Committee and the same is to be resolved within 12 months beginning from July 18, 2023,” the statement said.

“We are also pleased to know that the disclosure of the total amount of net revenue collected or derived from Sabah annually will now be made known to the representative of the Sabah government, by being a member of the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) Board when the amendment to the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) Act 1995 re-tabled soon in Parliament,” it added.

The representatives were made aware that the 2022 review will be superseded by a new review which will be ready soon.

This new review will increase the amount of special grants to be given to Sabah, the statement read, adding that this new review shall clearly state as an “interim solution” and as such does not affect Sabah’s right to claim for its special grant to be based on the 40% formulae for the affected years.

“With these developments, two of the three declarations we sought in our OS have been agreed to and will be implemented soon,” the statement stated.

“We are also mindful of the legal opinions regarding the legal impediment concerning the position of the plaintiffs in the OS as the current members of the federal and state Cabinet, that it is untenable for us to continue this legal action,” it said.

“We agree to withdraw our OS but with the liberty to file afresh,” they said.

“If the remaining issues have not been resolved, and could not be agreed upon, we reserve the right to bring this case back to court to pursue any unresolved constitutional rights, as provided for in MA63.

Last year, the 12 representatives filed a claim in the High Court to seek Sabah rights to its entitlement for the return of 40% federal revenue from the state.

Their lawyer Datuk Nelson Angang had said they were seeking a declaration under Article 112C and Section 2(1) of Part IV of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

The 12 representatives are Datuk Christina Liew, Datuk Ewon Benedick, Datuk Frankie Poon, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau, Awang Hussaini Sahari, Chan Foong Hin, Phoong Jin zhe, Jannie Lasimbang, Peto Galim, Tan Lee Fatt, Vivian Wong and Noorita Sual.

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