Pandikar puzzled by RM16bil federal allocation announcement by Anwar

KOTA KINABALU: Former Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has urged Putrajaya to clarify where the RM16bil federal allocation to the state came from.

According to Pandikar, who is also United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) president, the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the increased allocation has thrown Sabahans off.

He said the RM16bil was suddenly announced by the premier during his speech when closing the Kaamatan festival on Friday (May 31), adding the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) committee chaired by the Prime Minister also did not mention anything about the allocation.

He added the Sabah Chief Minister sat in that committee while an MA63 technical committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister also involved Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

“So, how come do the MA63 committee members not know about the RM16bil figure?,” he asked, after a Sabah STAR-Usno statewide tour in Putatan near here on Saturday (June 1).

“My question is, where did the RM16bil come from?

“The Prime Minister's statement on Friday (May 31) was confusing, I am mixed up as well,” Pandikar said, in response to questions by the media over the allocation.

When closing the state-level Kaamatan festival, Anwar urged the people not to accuse Putrajaya of not doing enough to resolve Sabah’s demands under the MA63.

While the 40% net revenue issue has yet to be resolved, he said, he has increased the federal allocation to the state ever since becoming Prime Minister.

“Since becoming Prime Minister, I have raised the allocation in 2024 to RM16bil compared to RM12.9bil in 2022,” he said.

The Prime Minister also added that the RM16bil allocation given to Sabah was more than the constitutional entitlement of 40% tax revenue which the state was currently pursuing.

Earlier, Kitingan had also questioned the RM16bil figure, saying Sabah was only given just over RM6bil in federal allocation under the Budget 2024.

The Sabah STAR president said that even if the projects slated for Sabah were considered, the numbers would still not add up.

“This 40% must be paid because this is our right under the Federal Constitution, and we need to settle this by July 18,” Kitingan said, referring to the deadline for the calculation of the 40% tax revenue owed by Putrajaya to the state.

Sabah had agreed to a one-year negotiation period with the federal government to reach a consensus on the formula which expires on July 18.

Kitingan also said the remark by Anwar on the RM16bil being more than the 40% owed to Sabah did not seem right.

He asked how Anwar could know the amount of the 40% when the federal government has yet to update the state on its requests for information and numbers to calculate the entitlement figure.

“So, where is the figure (RM16bil) coming from? I guess the officers (from the federal) Finance Ministry told him (Anwar) that?” he asked.

State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had told the state assembly in April that Sabah had made eight requests for the data on income and tax collected from the state over the years for calculation purposes, but it had yet to get a reasonable reply.

Masidi said the state government may consider appointing its own independent assessor to calculate the 40% net revenue if no agreement is reached by July.

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