KOTA KINABALU: Sabah lawmakers want to debate on a government gazette regarding the RM300mil interim special grant payment that was placed on their tables during Parliament sitting on Wednesday (Nov 29).
Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said when a paper is placed on the table, it means that the matter on it has been tabled.
“We are actually shocked by this gazette or document. During the tabling of the financial bill, I asked the Finance Ministry on their stand with regards to Article 112D (40% revenue sharing formula) of the federal constitution, and the deputy minister said a written reply would be given,” he said in a press conference in Parliament, accompanied by several others including Kudat MP Datuk Verdon Bahanda.
Madius said by right, it would have been a good opportunity for the Finance Ministry to debate on this matter during the winding up session, so that questions could be raised and answers given.
He said with this gazette which pointed out about the RM300mil interim payment, it seems like the 40% revenue sharing is off the table.
“Sabahans, including myself will be confused. Does this mean that the 40% that we have been asking for for so many years, is no longer applicable?,” he asked.
Madius said that a similar gazette was given in 1970 or 1971, whereby at that time the interim payment mentioned was just around RM26mil.
He asked the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to allow for this matter to be brought to Parliament on Thursday (Nov 30), so that concerns and confusions can be clarified.
He said he sent in a bill to ask for this and hoped that the Speaker would allow them to talk about it tomorrow as it is of public interest and urgency.
Madius said Sabah had a constitutional right to the 40% net revenue sharing, and with the government getting RM6.3bil of tax revenue from the state last year, Sabah should get more than RM300mil.
“If we do calculations, 40% from RM6.3bil is over RM2bil, and that is a lot compared to RM300mil,” he said.
“We ask that this matter be brought up in Parliament and for the Prime Minister to give us a proper explanation,” he said.
When asked about this, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali asked Madius to explain why he had agreed to a RM53mil interim payment when he was Sabah deputy chief minister in 2019.
“This RM300mil interim payment is a follow up from the previous arrangement agreement by the state government,” he said.
“Why did Madius, who was with the then Warisan plus state government, agree to a lower interim payment of RM53.4mil in 2019,” he asked.
Armizan said a new gazette was being formulated but it was not completed when the then chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal dissolved the state assembly in 2020.
He said after a new state government was formed, the new Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had retracted the RM53.4mil interim payment agreement to ask for more.
He claimed that in the official letter to the federal Finance Ministry in October 2019, there was no mention of specific terms and conditions, no mention of the 40% nor was there any mention of an interim payment.
“As Madius was the deputy chief minister at that time, he now has the obligation to explain what were the basis of them agreeing to the RM53mil payment,” Armizan stated.