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'Sabah reps must be serious about demanding federal revenue share'
Published on: Wednesday, April 24, 2024
By: FMT, Nora Mahpar
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'Sabah reps must be serious about demanding federal revenue share'
The state assembly was recently told that Sabah had requested data from the federal government eight times to determine the fair amount to be claimed, with no response forthcoming. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: Sabah’s representatives from both sides of the political divide may be rejected in the next state election if they do not demonstrate seriousness in demanding 40% of the federal government’s annual net revenue, analysts say.

Negotiations for the special allocation under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 were to last for a year, concluding on July 18. However, the formula for the special grant remains under discussion.

Sabah finance minister Masidi Manjun recently told the state assembly that Sabah had requested data from the federal government eight times to determine the fair amount to be claimed, with no response forthcoming.

He also said that Sabah would take a phase-by-phase approach to the special grant if the negotiation process cannot end according to schedule.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said the entitlement to the special allocation is enshrined in Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

Speaking to FMT, he said Sabah representatives, including those from the opposition, should advocate the issue as effectively as possible.

“They risk losing the people’s vote at the coming state polls if they fail to show commitment in demanding for their people’s rights,” he said, adding that the unity government led by Anwar Ibrahim might also lose the support of Sabahans if it continued to ignore their entitlements.

“Eight demands for data without a reasonable response is utterly disappointing,” he said.

Sabah assistant finance minister Tan Lee Fat reportedly said that the state government was sticking to the original formula for special grants set out in the Federal Constitution, which is two-fifths or 40% of the net federal revenue in Sabah.

He said since negotiations on the sum of grants began, the federal government had paid RM125.6 million in 2022 and RM300 million last year, which the state government received as an interim settlement.

Romzi Ationg, also of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, said Anwar risked strained relations with the state if he did not handle the issue with tact.

“The Madani government is perceived as problematic, and if he fails to address Sabah’s demands then the situation will become worse.

“Anwar needs to focus on rebuilding his popularity, and the way to do that is by addressing the state’s demand (for the special allocation). Otherwise, I fear his influence will continue to falter,” he said.

Romzi added however that the data subject to discussion should not be publicly disclosed, to protect the sensitivities of all parties involved.

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