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Turning Sabah from the Poorest to Richest

Kota Kinabalu:    “Sabah may now be the poorest State in Malaysia but they can be turned into the richest State as simply as following and complying with the highest law of Malaysia, the Federal Constitution” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in reference to the calls for Sabah to be returned two-fifths or 40% of the net revenue collected from Sabah by the federal government.

1976 was a horrible year for Sabah and to an extent for Sarawak too.   The Borneo States got down-graded as the 12th and 13th States of Malaya masquerading as Malaysia and lost 95% of its oil revenues and the right to impose royalties on oil extracted.    Sabah also lost its Chief Minister and several of his senior Cabinet Ministers in a tragic air-crash and its investigative report remains classified as secret by the federal government as if to cover up some wrong-doing.

However, we should not let this pass into history without learning from it and rectifying past mistakes.    Amongst the mistakes that can be rectified is the oil resources and revenues siphoned off from the Borneo States to unfairly finance development of Malaya.

Yet, as if it is not enough, the federal government is going to collect more taxes from Sabahans and Sarawakians with the GST to be imposed commencing April Fool’s day, 2015.

Under Part IV Item 2(1) of the Tenth Schedule in the Federal Constitution, Sabah is entitled to two-fifths (40%) of the net revenue collected from Sabah.   

Why is the federal government ignoring the Federal Constitution and not returning the 40% net revenue collected from Sabah?

If the Sabah Umno and BN leaders genuinely care for the welfare and interests of Sabahans, they should claim for the return of all the 40% net revenue collected from Sabah from 1963 until now.   The tens of billions will propel Sabah into an advanced economy and prosperity for Sabahans. 

Petronas are making billions of ringgit from Sabah’s oil and gas.   Between 2012 and 2015, Petronas is expected to receive more than RM85 billion and Sabah’s 5% share is only about RM4.5 billion.

Major oil companies producing oil and gas from Sabah are paying billions in taxes each year.   So are big plantation companies based in Malaya but with huge acreages in Sabah and paying billions each year.   Billions more are collected as federal taxes and other government revenue from Sabah businesses and ordinary Sabahans each year.  The Customs department alone collects more than RM830 million with another RM1.2 billion in GST for the remaining 9 months this year. 

The arrears of the 40% due to Sabah from 1963 until now would definitely be more than RM50 billion.   This will not only make Sabah the richest State in the nation but one of the very few nations in the world with a positive reserve.  

Will the Sabah government be brave enough to claim for refund of the 40% arrears and turn Sabah from the poorest into the richest State in the nation?   This is not even enforcement of Point No. 11 of the 20-Points that Sabah was to have control of its own finance, tariffs and development funds.  

Will the Sabah Umno and BN State Assemblymen and their BN-friendly Assemblymen be brave enough to pass a Motion demanding that the Sabah government claim for return of the 40% net revenue due to Sabah from 1963?

“Or will the Sabah government and the Sabah Umno BN Assemblymen remain muted like last year when I raised the same subject and condemn their fellow Sabahans to continued poverty and the poorest in Malaysia?” asked Dr. Jeffrey.a

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