KOTA KINABALU: A resolution to the long-standing 40% special grant to Sabah is expected to be reached within the coming year, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
He said the resolution of this issue, which has been pending for the past 58 years, is paramount in ensuring that Sabah receives its due revenue rights entitlement.
Jeffrey who represents the Sabah government in the technical committee of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the federal government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has promised to deliver on the outstanding constitutional rights.
“The people of Sabah have waited over half a century for this moment, and it is our obligation to ensure that the wait does not extend further,” he said.
Jeffrey said he acknowledged and appreciated the interim RM300 million special grant allocation from Putrajaya, but was quick to underline that this should only serve as a temporary solution.
“The interim allocation, though substantial, is only a part of what is rightfully due to Sabah. The RM300 million is indeed a positive step, but our ultimate goal is the actualisation of the 40% net revenue issue,” he said.
The Keningau MP further said that it is unnecessary to devise a new formula for the special revenue rights grant.
He pointed out that the Federal Constitution already provides an explicit mechanism for this, as stated in Article 112D, 112C, and 112C(6), along with Para 24 of the IGC Report.
“The information or data necessary for these calculations can and should be provided by the federal agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN). The framework is there – what we need now is the appropriate data,” he said.
He also suggested that Sarawak adopt the same formula as Sabah, instead of creating a separate one.
“I believe that such uniformity will not only bring consistency but also speed up the settlement process and prevent further delays,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey clarified that the acceptance of the RM300 million grant from the federal government should not be misconstrued as Sabah relinquishing its rights to the 40% net revenue.
On the contrary, he emphasised, it is a stopgap measure while the central issue continues to be pursued.
“The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government remains committed to safeguarding the rights and interests of Sabah. The opposition’s allegations that GRS has caused Sabah to lose its rights to the 40% are baseless and a continuous assault on our administration.
“We call upon all parties, especially the federal government, to cooperate and ensure that this matter is resolved within the stipulated time frame.
“It is in the best interest of the people of Sabah that we secure our rightful share of revenue, protecting the state’s autonomy, and continue developing our economy for the well-being of our citizens,” he said.