KOTA KINABALU: The Federal government should expedite the return of 40 per cent tax collection from Sabah, which has been clearly listed as a ‘special right’ for Sabah in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), said Tan Sri T.C Goh, President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS).
He said this while expressing support to the state government’s stance that it would continue to demand for the return of 40 per cent of the revenue collected by the federal government from the state.
He said, the return of the 40% of the revenue collected from Sabah should be listed as one of the key agendas, following the amendments made to the MA63 which was passed in the Dewan Rakyat, late last year.
Goh who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) expressed this while commenting on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s remark that, despite the provision on the matter being denied by the Federal government, the state government would continue negotiations on the matter as it was the basis of the demands in the MA63.
Hajiji had said this during the winding up session of the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department debate at the Sabah State Assembly (DUN), on Thursday.
Goh reminded that when the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution relevant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was unanimously passed in the Dewan Rakyat on 14 December, 2021, the government has promised to thoroughly look into all the pledges contained in the MA63, as well as those spelled out in the InterGovernmental Committee (IGC) report, which is the in-depth study of the Cobbold Commission Report on the demands of Sabah and Sarawak made then.
He said, FCAS welcomes and fully supports the Chief Minister’s proclamation that the state government will continue to pursue the matter in regards to Sabah rights, until it gets what is promised, in the spirit of MA63.
He also noted that, when the said amendment bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had clearly stated that amendment would see MA63 placed in an equal footing with the Federal Agreement 1948 and Federal Agreement 1957, as it detailed the stage of the formation and the direction of Malaysia from the Federation of Malaya 1948 and to the direction of the Federation of Malaya 1957 when the Federal Constitution was being adopted in 1957.
Goh further stressed that the return of the 40% revenue collected by the Federal government from Sabah was the basis of the demands in the MA63, and it was also clearly endorsed by the Sabah State Constitution. He thus opined that the Federal government should not just simply interpret it according to its own whim and fancy, or outright ignore it.
Meanwhile, Goh who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) also expressed his full support to both the Federal and state governments, for declaring that they would never accept nor recognize the claim on Sabah by any parties, be it the Government of Philippines or the so-called Sulu sultanate.
He thus fully supported the government’s move of demanding the French Arbitration Court in Paris to immediately rescind its recent ruling ordering Malaysia to pay approximately RM62.59 billion (US$14.92 billion) to the so-called descendants of the last Sultan of Sulu, and to bar the claimant from continuing to make such claim from the government of Malaysia.