Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said that the deal, known as the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA), is still at the preliminary stage of discussions but promised to consider Senallang assemblyman Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal's suggestion for an oversight committee on carbon trading.

“Senallang assemblyman suggested the need to set up a special committee on this. I will look at this seriously. If needed, we will form one so it is more transparent. So hopefully this effort will work out. If it does, then allowances and allocations can be increased.

“But of course it must be managed well. That is our concept,” Hajiji said in the state assembly today.

Tungku assemblyman Assafal Alian also asked if the state government had included a clause that would enable it to pull out or cancel the agreement if it did not benefit Sabah.

Hajiji replied that negotiations had not reached that stage yet.

Earlier, he was asked if the 30 per cent commission to the third party, Hoch Standard, a Singapore company, was finalised and if it was going to be standard rate.

Hajiji said the ratio of profit sharing for the state had not been finalised.

“As I said, this is all in negotiations. It is not finalised yet how much the government will get and how much the company will get. Hopefully less, so that we earn more, that is the intention.

“The more we get from this resource, the more we can spend to help the rakyat. But looks like there is still a long journey ahead of us because there is still a lot required by the Attorney-General’s from the company,” he said.

The NCA between the state government and Hoch Standard is said to involve some 60,000 hectares of land initially, with the potential to go up to two million hectares if successful. 

However, the deal was largely panned for its lack of transparency, and the appointment of third party foreign firms with seemingly no background in the industry. 

Controversial letters from the State Attorney General's office have also been leaked, instructing the firm to provide more proof of its credentials and to halt any funding activities for the deal until the state was satisfied with its due diligence report.