Tue, 21 May 2024


Sabahans want the 40pc tax revenue
Published on: Sunday, May 12, 2024
By: Datuk John Lo
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IN true SABAHAN SPIRIT, Sabah Law Society [SLS] has taken the Federal Government to Court on the 40pc tax revenue issue. SLS was represented by some of Sabah’s best legal brains, Jeyan Marimuttu, Dr David Fung and a team of Sabahan spirited lawyers.

The High Court decided in SLS’ favour. The Federal Government’s appeal will be heard on 16th May 2024. All Sabahans should/must show their disgust at the  procrastinations and shameful filibustering.

Is PM Anwar fair to Sabah by allowing the Federal Government to appeal against the High Court’s decision? I don’t think so. After all, this 40pc share is due to us constitutionally. 

Adding salt to injury, the Federal Government has not paid Sabah for 50 years. Worse, both Mahathir and Lim Guan Eng as PM and Minister of Finance have said, in blatant disregard to all Sabahan’s economic interest, that the Federal Government had no money to pay us.

Now, the Anwar Government, in its argument in the Court, is disputing the fundamental legality of 40pc due to Sabah. This is worse than Mahathir’s and LGE’s “no money”.

I do not know what Anwar is trying to convey to Sabahans in this 40pc legal case. Is Anwar being fair to Sabahans? Is Anwar the same as Mahathir and LGE or worse in this 40pc case? Mahathir and LGE did not dispute its legality. They simply refused to pay.

If Anwar wants to be fair to Sabahans, he should instruct the Federal AG to withdraw its appeal on 16 May 2024. The Federal Government can accept SLS’s formula for calculation of the 40pc or work out another one quickly with Sabah Government. Don’t take another 50 years!

Good if Anwar can give Sabahans what is constitutionally due to Sabahans soonest possible.

Good if Anwar can recognise and won’t ignore the rapid and heightened swell of the SABAHAN SPIRIT.

Good if Anwar can recognize that Sabahans will never accept or be happy with some “annual grants” which the Federal Government has used to pull wool over the eyes of Sabahans. Sabahans don’t tolerate this anymore.

I am confident that CM Hajiji will be very amendable to working out a fair and just payment formula.


Remembering Sabah politically is insufficient.

Due credit to Anwar. He would fly in for an important event like Hari Raya. He would announce funding for an important project or two, like the RM80m cancer centre. 

With due respect, this is insufficient for Sabah. The Federal Government has ignored/neglected Sabah for far too long. Anwar must do more, a lot more for Sabah. At his present efforts, Sabah will never catch up.

Examples of Anwar’s neglects of Sabah:  Anwar has not featured Sabah or promoted investments into Sabah in any of his foreign travels or in talks with investors who have come to KL. To illustrate, I append below a number of pertinent news items: 
  • https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/11/18/malaysia-bags-rm63bil-in-us-investment-says-anwar/ 
  • https://thediplomat.com/2023/04/what-chinas-rm-170-billion-investment-commitment-means-for-malaysia/
  • https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business news/2023/12/18/anwar039s-visit-to-japan-attracts-rm656bil-in-potential-investments
  • https://www.aljazeera.com/ecoomy/2023/7/14/malaysias-anwar-talks-tesla-starlink-with-elon-musk
  • https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2023/04/12/anwar-and the-lure-of-chinas-automotive-disruption/

The RM170 billion in investment pledges Anwar returned with from Beijing included a commitment from car company Zhejiang Geely to invest RM30 billion into Perak’s designated auto hub in Tanjung Malim, where the Proton factory is located.
  • https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4N3671S2/

My congratulations to Anwar for his feats in investment promotion. Big achievement to win over Elon Musk from Indonesia even though Jokowi flew to Texas to meet the richest man in the world. 

The above total investments add up to hundreds of billions. 

Sabahans have to ask the inevitable questions. Where is Sabah in Anwar’s investment promotion? What investments will Sabah get?


The reason for Sabah being left out in Anwar’s investment missions could be rooted in the NIMP2030.

Sabah should not accept the status quo imposed by the NIMP2030. We should take Anwar’s lack of attention very seriously and restore our rights to an equitable share of this plan.

Anwar would promote investment in accordance with the NIMP2030! Unfortunately, there is nothing for Anwar to promote for Sabah if he follows the script of NIMP2030.

Please refer to website below for NIMP2030.



I rather suspect that the Federal Government has had little consultation with Sabah Government or inputs from Sabah when the NIMP2030 was drawn up and in the planning of Anwar’s investment promotion. 

The consequential losses in investment for Sabah are in the 10s of billions. Remember that the total investments that Anwar has got are in 100s of billion. 

More importantly, most of these investments are for high tech. Sabah, having bee left out in Anwar’s promotion, can’t and will never benefit from these investments.

Bottom line is that Sabah will fall behind very seriously in the context of NIMP2030 and Anwar’s lack of investment promotion for Sabah.

Unless Sabah can sort out this and have a pilot seat in Anwar’s investment promotion, we will never catch up.

Sabah’s new generations will continue to migrate to W Malaysia for better pay high tech jobs.


Why has Sabah got so little role in NIMP2030 and Anwar’s investment promotion? Have OFFICIALS done enough homework? Have Sabahans been sidelined? Or have we not fought hard enough? All these are water under bridge.

Let’s conduct some damage control. 2030 is still 6 years to go. Anwar will conduct further investment promotions. Not too late. We can recoup. We can repackage our investment potentials so that Anwar can promote investments into Sabah in his future trips or meetings with investors.

To strategize, Sabah should be very clear in what sort of investments we want. Hajiji has succeeded in attracting considerable investments in oil/gas, manufacturing in cooper foil and solar glass and steel. 

Do we want high tech industries like chip, cloud computing, data storage, virtual reality, robotics? If so, what can we offer? 

Is there a compendium of investment products that Sabah can ask Anwar to include in his investment promotion? Do we have a streamline investment system? 

Is Sabah’s delivery system up to potential investors’ expectation in performance? Do we have the necessary skilled personnel? If not, how to solve this problem? What sort of tax incentives?

Sabah investment packages must be ready ASAP as the remaining time of 6 years of NIMP2030 is limited. When ready, Sabah must present them to Anwar and request him to include Sabah.

To achieve all these, there must a wholesale breaking down of SILO WALLS.


Anwar is the PM for all Malaysians. Successive PMs have neglected Sabah. Anwar can chart a different path by being fair to Sabah. 

This he can do straight away by stopping the Federal Government’s appeal on 16 May 2024 and start serious, honest negotiation with Hajiji on payment of the 40pc net revenue. 

Sabahans are only asking for what is due to us. After 50 years of false justice, nice speeches, small impromptu project approvals don’t impress Sabahans.

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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