GRS govt must own up to revenue rights court fiasco, says Bung

KOTA KINABALU: The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government should take full responsibility for the handling of the state's revenue rights hearing at the Court of Appeal, says Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

"Not only the state Attorney General, but the State Secretary too should (do the honourable thing) and resign," he said in a statement on Tuesday (May 21) amid public concern over the judicial review case brought by the Sabah Law Society (SLS).

Bung Moktar said state Attorney General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof's explanation regarding the appointment of Tengku Datuk Fuad Ahmad as a lawyer representing the state was confusing and only raised more questions.

"Fuad... violated (the trust) and turned his back on the aspirations of the people of Sabah when he attacked SLS as being a 'busybody' with no right to represent Sabah... (this) is unacceptable and disappointing," he said.

Furthermore, he said, the Attorney General would not take such steps as appointing a lawyer to act on behalf of the state without the blessing of or instructions from a superior, such as the State Secretary.

"The (position taken by the) Attorney General of Sabah in court is also the official position of the Sabah government.

"Therefore, Fuad's statement in court that the 40% revenue share is not Sabah's absolute right and is only an aspiration, can also be considered the official stance of the GRS government," he said.

Bung Moktar said this position was tantamount to a violation of the people's rights.

"It (appears as if) the GRS government's slogans like 'Rumah Kita, Kita Jaga' (we take care of our home) and 'Sabah First' are just sweet promises to fool the people," he said.

Bung Moktar said that if the state rights issue was not clarified and resolved soon, the Chief Minister and his Cabinet should take collective responsibility and step down to return the mandate to the people.

"The confidence and trust of the people must be restored," he added.

Fuad was appointed to intervene on behalf of the state government in the Federal Government’s appeal of the November 2022 Kota Kinabalu High Court decision granting SLS leave for a judicial review on the state’s right to receive 40% of its revenue, as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

Fuad’s argument to block SLS from being granted leave for judicial review triggered a political storm in the state.

The three-member Court of Appeal bench has set Friday (May 24) for case management in the matter.

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