Don't mix rights for 40% revenue return with development allocation, says Kitingan

KOTA KINABALU: Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) leaders are raising concerns about the federal government's delay in fulfilling the Malaysia Agreement 1963, especially in regard to the 40% return of revenue from the state.

Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Usno president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin said that the federal leaders failed to understand the state's right for the federal government to return 40% of revenue from Sabah under the Constitution.

Kitingan said the Federal government was mixing development allocation and its constitutional right to the 40% revenue return from Sabah.

"It is not the same thing. The fact is that 40% is an entitled revenue right and is different from the federal development allocation," he told reporters after launching the Zone 2 GRS Wanita roadshow here on Sunday (Dec 10).

He was commenting on the Prime Minister's statement on Thursday (Dec 7) that Sabah people should be thankful that the state received more development allocation of RM6.6bil and that the unity government had done more than any previous government.

"Revenue rights are very basic and should not even be negotiated. This is a constitutional right, we must claim and not negotiate.

"As to how much to pay, it depends on two things, including the financial position of the federal government and the state financial needs, which are very critical," he said, adding that Sabah's basic amenities like water and electricity needed to be resolved among others.

"We are not taking the federal government's money or that of any other states. It is our money, they just have to return based on the formula," he said.

However, he said the State government accepted the interim payment of RM300mil but wants the mechanism for returning the state's 40% revenue resolved by next year.

Kitingan, who is deputy chief minister, also said that even for the federal budget allocation, Sabah and Sarawak only got about 13% of the annual allocation.

"We have no development compared to peninsular Malaysia, although we have more potential to be developed as peninsular Malaysia is almost at the peak," he added.

Pandikar said that the delays were because many lawmakers did not know the details of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

"When we made the requests, some of them looked at us in amazement. If they understand that process, they will respect our opinion," he said, adding that there were enough documents from the MA63, the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, Cobbold Commission and 20 Points on the formation of Malaysia.

Pandikar said leaders in Peninsular Malaysia are responsible for understanding the commitments of past Malaya leaders and why Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the formation of Malaysia.

"What is so difficult in interpreting Article 112D, to understand Schedule 10, to understand the 20 Points?

"During our fact-finding trip on MA63 to London, I came across a file that stated at that time, Sabah was adamant about not compromising on the issue of taxes and stressed that the right belongs to the state," he added.

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