KOTA KINABALU, May 16 — The Court of Appeal here today adjourned the hearing of the federal government’s challenge against a judicial review application seeking to compel it to pay Sabah 40 per cent of derived revenue.

The three-man panel led by Justice Datuk Ravinthran N. Paramaguru set May 24 for case management after all three parties — Sabah Law Society (SLS), Malaysia’s attorney general, and the Sabah government — made submissions today.

Today’s hearing was for the federal government’s application to dismiss the SLS’s bid for judicial review.

The SLS first applied for the judicial review on June of 2022 and in November the same was granted leave by the High Court. However, the federal government obtained a stay order pending the appeal.

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Outside the courthouse, politicians from both sides of the divide, plus hundreds of activists and members of the public were gathering to show their support and send a message that the entire state was united in their stand over the merits of the case.

Former chief ministers Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau were among those seen outside the courthouse and interacting with people.

There was also increased police presence to maintain security.

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Only five reporters were allowed in the courtroom to hear the case today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan said Sabahans, including all leaders of political parties, should fully support the lawsuit as it was for the benefit of the entire state and went beyond political interests.

“We hope the assurance from the prime minister to uphold the rights of Sabahans will be fulfilled, or we will be poor and unable to continue developing,” he said when talking to reporters at the courthouse.

Kitingan, a pioneer in championing the state’s rights, was detained under the Internal Security Act 33 years ago for raising the issue then.