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Feb 2 decision on Putrajaya’s bid to block Sabah revenue lawsuit
Published on: Wednesday, January 25, 2023
By: FMT
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Feb 2 decision on Putrajaya’s bid to block Sabah revenue lawsuit
The Sabah government contends that it is constitutionally entitled to 40% of the net revenue derived by the federal government from the state. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: The High Court in Kota Kinabalu will rule on Feb 2 whether to allow the federal government’s application to stay judicial review proceedings filed by the Sabah Law Society (SLS) in relation to a 40% special grant for Sabah.

On Nov 11, the High Court granted SLS leave to pursue judicial review on grounds that it had locus standi to file for a judicial review as this was a public interest case.

Putrajaya has since filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court decision.

During a virtual hearing this morning, Justice Ismail Brahim said he will deliver his ruling on Feb 2.

Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, who was assisted by Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, urged the court to allow the stay due to the special circumstances of the case.

SLC lawyer David Fung, who objected, said the merits of the judicial review proceedings must proceed.

When granting leave, Ismail had ruled that SLS’ case, which revolved around whether Putrajaya had breached its constitutional duty to pay the 40% entitlement for the “lost years” between 1974 to 2021, was a justiciable matter.

SLS had filed the leave application in June last year following an April 14 announcement by the federal and state governments of a special five-year annual grant of RM125.6 million for Sabah.

The Sabah government subsequently applied to the court and was allowed to intervene as a respondent in the action.

State government counsel Tengku Ahmad Fuad said SLS’ suit seeks redress for the federal government’s failure to conduct a review of Sabah’s 40% special grant, which breached Articles 112C and 112D of the Federal Constitution.

In the suit, SLS alleged that the federal government had breached the constitution by failing to conduct a review every five years starting from 1974.

It also claimed that the federal government was obliged to pay Sabah 40% of federal revenues derived from the state in each of the intervening years since 1974.

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