Sabah's rights: PH reps to withdraw lawsuit, but reserve right to refile

20 Sep 2023 03:37pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX

KOTA KINABALU - Twelve Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) representatives withdrew their originating summons (OS) to seek a court order that the Federal government recognise and deliver Sabah’s constitutional rights.

In a joint statement today, the elected representatives said there was progress made through a technical committee for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council (MTPMA63) chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, whereby two of the three declarations they sought had been agreed to and would be implemented soon.

"We are also pleased to know that the disclosure of the total amount of net revenue collected or derived from Sabah annually will now be made known to the representatives of the Sabah Government by being a member of the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) when the amendment to the IRB Act 1995 be tabled in Parliament soon.

"We are also made aware that last year’s review will be superseded by a new review, which will be ready soon and that this new review will increase the amount of special grants to be given to Sabah.

"What is equally important, this new review shall clearly state as an "interim solution” and as such does not affect Sabah’s right to claim for its special grant to be based on the 40 per cent formula for the affected years,” they said.

In respect of the claim that Sabah ought to receive the special grant from 1974 based on the 40 per cent formula, this was still part of the agenda in the Technical Committee and should be finalised within 12 months from July 18 this year.

Considering some of the plaintiffs held positions in the Federal and state governments, the PH representatives were also mindful that it was untenable for them to continue this legal action.

"Taking into account the progress that has been made and the good things that can be done through the Technical Committee, we think that this option should be supported as a way to reach the intended objective we set when we filed our OS last year.

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"We agree to withdraw our OS, but with the liberty to file afresh. If the remaining issues have not been resolved and could not be agreed upon, we reserve the right to bring this case back to court to pursue any unresolved constitutional rights, as provided for in the MA63,” they said.

The OS was filed on June 3 last year, seeking a court order that the Federal government recognised and delivered Sabah’s constitutional rights as provided under the Federal Constitution and that the constitutional rights provided the special rights for Sabah to receive special grants amounted to two-fifths (40 per cent formula) of the Federation’s net revenue derived from Sabah.

The 12 representatives are Datuk Ewon Benedick (Penampang Member of Parliament (MP) and Kadamaian assemblyman), Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau (Tuaran MP), Chan Foong Hin (Kota Kinabalu MP), Vivian Wong (Sandakan MP), Senator Noorita Sual.

Datuk Frankie Poon (Tanjung Papat assemblyman), Datuk Christina Liew (Api-Api assemblyman), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang assemblyman), Jannie Lasimbang (Kapayan assemblywoman), Peto Galim (Inanam assemblyman), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas assemblyman) and Awang Hussaini Sahari (former Putatan MP). - BERNAMA