Sabah may appoint assessor to calculate 40% net revenue if no deal made by July, says Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will consider appointing its own independent assessor to calculate the 40% net revenue owed by the Federal Government if no agreement is reached by July, says Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (pic).

The state Finance Minister said various initiatives and methods have been used and suggested while negotiation after negotiation had been held to find common ground on the matter.

However, the amount to be agreed upon is still pending, the GRS assemblyman for Karanaan said.

“If no consensus is reached regarding the 40% net revenue entitlement, Sabah can and will consider appointing its own independent assessor,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the state assembly sitting here on Monday (April 22).

Earlier, he agreed that calculations for the 40% federal net revenue entitlement were actually not that complicated, if the Federal Government provided the state with the data it needed.

Masidi said Sabah had made eight requests for the data on income and tax collected from Sabah over the years for calculation purposes, but it was still waiting until today.

“It takes two to tango. We have asked ... eight times but have yet to get a reasonable answer, that is why we agreed to the one-year negotiation period which expires in July,” he said in response to an additional question from nominated assemblyman Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

Yong said the calculation is straightforward and also asked if payments for the "lost years" between 1974 (the last time a review was made) and 2023 would also be taken into account.

Datuk Darell Leiking (Warisan-Moyog) suggested that Putrajaya was not sincere in wanting to help Sabah get its rights back, to which Masidi said MPs from both sides of the divide must help voice this out in Parliament.

Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Lamag) asked how MPs could do so when the state had taken a "step back" in claiming and fighting for the rights of the people by accepting an interim payment without consulting other state Cabinet members.

“The interim payment is just a short-term payment while we continue to fight for our rights. We will continue to fight and this includes getting back the arrears owed to us from the beginning until now,” he said.

Earlier, Bung Moktar had asked whether or not the state intended to appoint an independent assessor to determine the amount owed.

State Assistant Finance Minister Tan Lee Fatt (PH-Likas) gave a run-down of the actions taken including setting up the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Implementation Action Council Technical Committee, agreeing to an interim payment, attempting to find the right calculation formula and agreeing to the amount to pay and receive, among others.

“The Federal Government made a RM125.6mil interim payment in 2022 and RM300mil last year while negotiations are ongoing.

“Sabah has the option to appoint an independent assessor if no agreement is reached by July,” he said, adding that the state government would not stop fighting for Sabah’s rights as enshrined in the MA63.

During Monday's meeting, a total of six questions were asked, covering initiatives to tackle Sabah’s poverty rate, measures to increase the income of "land fishermen", total foreign investments, actions taken to solve water woes, and housing schemes for fire or disaster victims in Semporna.

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