KOTA KINABALU: All negotiations involving the government’s commitment to return 40% of Sabah’s revenue should be based on the Federal Constitution, Upko Chairman Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau has said.
He said any negotiation for the special grants should refer to the 40% quantum set forth in Section 112C of the Federal Constitution.
“Negotiations on special grants under Section 112D must not contradict Section 112C, which sets the framework for the agreement.
“If the views (interpretation) are different from ours, the state government or the federal government, then, to the extent possible, this matter should be brought before the court to decide which is the correct view” , he said during a webinar organized by the Wisdom Foundation recently.
The webinar notably addressed the issue titled “Section 112D Special Grant Negotiations: Contradicting Sabah’s 40% Rights Enshrined in Section 112C of the Federal Constitution.”
Madius said prior negotiations should only be tied to the federal government’s ability to provide special grants.
“Payment in other forms can be made and the consultation should only be on whether or not the federal government can afford to pay (40% of Sabah’s duty),” he said. .
Madius said the Ministry of Finance had recently declared that the 40% revenue return issue had been implemented under 112D and had been published in the Official Gazette in 1970.
“However, the news published in the gazette has been kept secret. Why should the gazette be kept secret when it is a news item? were they not given?” he said.
He said state government approval must be obtained if any changes are to be made to the special grant.
Emeritus constitutional expert Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi previously said the special grant for the return of 40% of state revenue could not be undone by “mere political or administrative arrangements”.
He said that although government policies, circulars and gazettes in this country can override a law, it should not be done that way.
Recently, Sabah and the federal government agreed on a special annual grant of RM125 million, with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor saying they would continue to uphold the constitutional right to return 40% of state revenue .