Revenue rights: No valid reason to withdraw lawsuit against govt, says Henrynus Amin

KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Harapan should stop trying to justify its decision to drop the suit against the Federal Government on state revenue entitlement, says Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri president Datuk Henrynus Amin.

The former Kinabalu MP said there was no valid reason for the 12 Pakatan leaders, especially Upko, to withdraw the suit.

Henrynus said Upko president Datuk Ewon Benedick should be reminded of his election campaign pledge, whch he also made during the Upko annual delegates' council, to continue with the suit even if Pakatan was came into power.

He claimed that Benedick did not consult Upko delegates over the matter.

Henrynus said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must be reminded of Putrajaya's obligation to fulfil all promises and guarantees enshrined in Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution.

He said the withdrawal at the most critical point – when another legal suit on the same matter by Sabah Law Society (SLS) was about to be heard by the High Court – would be sending the wrong signal to the Federal Government.

On Benedick's various reasons the suit was dropped was due to conflict of interest as he is a federal minister, Henrynus asked why other Pakatan leaders dropped their suit as well.

He said it was also "surprising" how Benedick could be satisfied with just a promise from the federal government to appoint a Sabahan into the Internal Revenue Board (LHDN) purportedly to obtain data on Federal revenue accrued in Sabah.

He also said that a Sabahan from Ranau, Datuk Sabin Samitah, was once appointed director-general of LHDN," he said.

"It is good and desirable, but appointing Sabahans into LHDN to obtain data on federal revenue accrued in Sabah is not necessary and is definitely not the desired solution," he said.

Henrynus said, as a federal-level minister, Benedick can easily ask or write a letter to LHDN and other relevant federal agencies to obtain the required information.

He said it was absurd that Benedick was satisfied with replacing the controversial Federal Gazette dated April 20, 2022, with a new one with an increased allocation and the words, "interim solution" inserted on it.

He said the real issue was not about increasing the allocation or inserting the words "interim solution" but rather enforcing federal compliance of the 40% formula under the Federal Constitution.

"The mere increase of state entitlement or inserting the words 'interim solution' is not the desired solution," Henrynus said.

He also questioned the need to give the Federal Government until July next year to get back the 40% claim, when it should be done promptly.

Benedick had said that the decision to back down was because progress had been achieved as far as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was concerned and that the government had promised to finalise a distribution formula on the 40% claim by July next year.

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 originating summons (OS).

Last year, 12 Sabah Pakatan 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.

Among others, they seek a declaration that Sabah is entitled to 40% of revenue from the Federal Government from the state annually to be "respected and delivered" as stated in the Constitution.

In the OS filed against the government of Malaysia and the government of Sabah, they also sought for the Federal Government to disclose the amount of net revenue it derives from Sabah annually.

The 12 Pakatan 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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