'We succeeded where others failed,' says Ewon

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Ewon Benedick has hit back at critics who claimed Upko and Sabah Pakatan Harapan backed down from pursuing Sabah rights after dropping a suit over states rights against Putrajaya on state entitlements.

"All I can say is we succeeded where others have failed. The time to fight for our rights is when we are in the Cabinet, not out of it," said the Upko president on Friday (Sept 29) when asked about criticism levelled at his party and Sabah Pakatan after the originating summons (OS) was withdrawn earlier this month.

Parti Warisan member Chin Teck Ming had questioned the OS withdrawal, saying there was no conflict of interest despite some plaintiffs holding government or government-linked company (GLC) positions under the unity government.

Kerjasama Anak Negeri president Datuk Henrynus Amin also claimed that the withdrawal had weakened Sabah's bargaining position to claim what was owed.

Benedick said progress had been achieved as far as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was concerned.

He said the suit had played a part in pushing the Federal Cabinet to fulfill two out of the three declarations sought by Sabah Pakatan in the OS.

He also said the court granted all 12 plaintiffs the liberty to file a fresh suit if they were not satisfied with the solution on Sabah's entitlement based on the 40% revenue tax formula.

In a joint statement on Sept 20, the 12 Sabah Pakatan plaintiffs said two of three declarations they sought in the OS have been agreed by the government.

The first was that the total amount of net revenue collected or derived from Sabah annually would be disclosed to the Sabah government representative by being a member of the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) board.

Another is for the 2022 review of the special grants to Sabah to be superseded by a new review to increase the amount of special grants given to Sabah.

The third declaration sought by Sabah Pakatan was that a review on the net revenue should have been performed in 1974 and as a consequence of which is that the continued payment of RM26.7mil from 1974 be revised to an amount calculated based on the premise of the 40% formulae.

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