KOTA KINABALU: Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking has claimed that Sabah should receive more in terms of revenue than the amount fixed by the federal government, blaming past administrations for the oversight.
Speaking to reporters here today, the international trade and industry minister said it was a constitutional obligation by the central government to give back 40% tax revenue to the state.
“However, in 2013 (when he was still in the opposition), I asked the federal government during the tabling of the budget, why only RM27.6 million was allocated for Sabah.
“They explained to me this amount was agreed to in the early 1970s.
“The saddest part of it all was that they never considered inflation. So, it has remained at his amount in the budget since the 1970s. That is why a lot of Sabahans are not happy.”
Leiking was commenting on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement recently that the revenue-sharing formula for Sabah and Sarawak may take a year to be realised in view of the nation’s challenging fiscal position.
Towards this end, the Penampang MP said he, together with Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and other Sabah ministers, had spoken to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to resolve the issue.
“The previous government said they had spoken about it already and set up committee after committee. They had years to do it but we have only been in the federal government six months now.
“We are already talking a lot more about this issue and de facto law minister VK Liew has been instructed by the PM to set up a special Cabinet committee to look into what Sabah should have been given all these years.”
He contended the previous government also tried to misconstrue the facts on the 40% revenue and development funds.
He said a Barisan Nasional minister had previously questioned him when he spoke about the revenue issue, stating that the federal government had already given development funds to Sabah.
“Development funds and the two-fifths of the revenue tax are two different issues. We must always separate these two.
“The two-fifths are a fixed revenue for Sabah — that is a constitutional obligation.”
Leiking said Sabah will continue speaking to Putrajaya on the revenue issue.
“We have a strong CM who knows how to deal with the federal government on this. And we will be spokesmen for Sabah as far as the constitutional obligation is concerned to ensure the federal government meets its obligations,” he said.
On a Sarawak minister claiming Lim was appearing to look like a fake on his views on Sabah and Sarawak following the revenue-sharing formula statement, Leiking noted the Sarawak government should wait until a full announcement is made.
“I think it’s going to be tough for us the next few years. Lim Guan Eng is doing his best.”