By Nelson W. Angang, Secretary General of UPKO
KOTA KINABALU: The finance minister in replying to YB Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau question in Parliament that Sabah entitlement of the 40% nett revenue as provided under article 112C of the Federal Constitution and under Section 2(1) of Part IV of the Tenth Schedule is no longer applicable is dangerously misleading when such specific provision is still in the Federal Constitution.
The review order that the finance minister is referring to is intended for the year 1969-1973 as the equivalent sum of the 40% nett revenue collected from Sabah at that time. Clearly the intention of another review was supposed to be done is in 1974 in considering the increase of the of the nett revenue collected in Sabah over the preceding years.
The value of the 40% nett value would definitely have increased over the years. For Sabah to know what is the amount that they are entitled to, the federal government must be transparent in providing us with the actual amount of the total nett revenue that they have collected from Sabah annually since 1974. Only then the state government of Sabah will be in a position to really understand and appreciate the exact amount that is due to us as intended by article 122C and Part IV of the Tenth Schedule in the Federal Constitution.
Without this information Sabah will always be handicapped in the negotiating table with the Federal government. The federal government cannot be using the last amount of RM26.7 million in the review order of 1969 as the consideration of the equivalent sum of the 40% nett revenue entitled to us since 1974 until now. That would be ridiculous. If that is the figure that the federal government is putting on the negotiating table then it’s a none starter.
Before anyone start to point fingers and to questioned as to why all the previous government had not done anything to address this, then these people are of no consequence in contributing to the progress and effort in achieving the real goal in getting back of what is rightfully ours as intended by the Federal constitution and the Malaysia Agreement. You are merely barking at the wrong tree and avoiding to the real issue in front of you.
This issue is alive before us now. Our leaders are equipped with all this knowledge and it is upon them to correct this anomaly.
The people of Sabah wants to know how do we move forward from this and how we address this problem. It now falls on the current State government to demand what is rightfully ours.
If the people of Sabah are entitled to the 40% of the nett revenue collected since 1974, then give the people of Sabah the exact value of what is truly due to them no more no less rather than disrespecting and denying Sabahans of their rights based on the technical wordings of Article 112D FC.
It was also reported that the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan had said that the review formula made in 1969 was pursuant to Article 112D of the Federal Constitution was not an attempt to amend the Federal Constitution in defending the Federal government. With respect to Dr Jeffrey, he should be taking a position in arguing and questioning on behalf of Sabah as to why no review was done since 1969 and criticising the offensive position taken by the federal government that the 40% entitlement is no longer applicable. How does Dr. Jeffrey reconcile the position that Sabah is entitled to the 40% nett revenue from the very beginning by defending the federal Finance Minister position?
The state government of Sabah must be brave and firm in getting our rights back and if the negotiation does not present a fair solution to Sabah, then the state government must be prepared to bring the matter to court as permitted under the MA63.
It is the duty of the state government to protect Sabah and its people of its right and to ensure we have exhausted every available means to enforce our rights. If you are not prepared to go all the way, then you cannot claim to say that you have the interest of all Sabahans in your heart. It is time for us to be firmed on this issue.