KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will only get back the 40% net revenue owed by the Federal Government once the country’s finances have strengthened and stabilised, says Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan.
He said this was decided upon during the ongoing meetings and discussions held by state and Federal stakeholders in charge of matters pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
The MA63 implementation action council was working hard to settle pending issues, including the amount of special grants for Sabah and Sarawak, he added.
“For this special grant, the formula for its return or payment to the state is still being finalised,” Nizam said during the State Legislative Assembly sitting question-and-answer session on Wednesday (Nov 29).
He said this formula must be ready and complete by July 18, but time was needed to consider every point under the MA63 from legal as well as practical aspects.
Asked about the rights given back to the state, Nizam said there were seven main points including amendment of Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution, empowerment on licensing and deep-sea fishing activities, the return of authority over Sipadan and Ligitan islands, and regulatory power over the gas sector.
“We now also have representatives on the Inland Revenue Board and are waiting for the regulatory power over electricity to be returned to Sabah, among other things,” he said.
He said issues on return of Federal-owned lands to the state in Sabah, autonomy on healthcare, education, and to see the national Parliament have 35% of representation from Sabah and Sarawak, were still being discussed as well.
“We want to have additional assemblymen in Sabah so that we can fulfil this representation. We have handed in our proposal letter in August,” said Nizam.
He said other matters such as oil and gas royalties were also part of the claims.