CM says can start tallying what Sabah is owed even if Putrajaya can’t yet pay

Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal pointed out that the state must still study what portions it would be entitled to share. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal pointed out that the state must still study what portions it would be entitled to share. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, April 15 — Sabah has prepared methods to work out how much the federal government owes it in arrears from the 40 per cent share of state revenue the former is entitled to by law, said Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal 

The chief minister acknowledged that Putrajaya previously said it could not currently afford to repay Sabah, but pointed out that the state must still study what portions and of what revenue it would be entitled to share.

He noted that collections were done by federal agents and the state would not know the precise numbers from which to build its claim. 

“There are a lot of steps that we can take, even if not agreed on yet. We also have the right to tax things like palm oil, and other products and services to get income,” said Shafie during the question and answer session at the state assembly sitting today.

“God willing, there are steps we have prepared to get income — not just limited to our resources like timber, oil and gas or tourism. But this won’t happen in one year, it will take time, maybe two or three years.”

Shafie was answering a supplementary question by Tambunan assemblyman Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan who asked what mechanisms were available to the state and federal governments in the matter.

Under the Federal Constitution, Sabah is entitled to 40 per cent of net revenue derived from the state under the 10th Schedule, Article 112 Part IV Special Grants to States of Sabah and Sarawak.

However, the federal government had given just RM26.7 million to Sabah government annually, an amount which was agreed upon in 1969 but which has since not been followed.

It was also never revised after 1973 even though Article 112D of the Federal Constitution provides for mandatory reviews every five years.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said last year that Putrajaya wanted to give Sabah its 40 per cent share of net state revenue but lacked funds now.

Shafie offered at the time for Putrajaya to delay the payment but said it must be paid in full to the state eventually.