Anifah to Putrajaya: Prove your goodwill, make initial payments to Sabah now

Former foreign minister Anifah Aman says the government must not use the excuse of not having enough money to delay payments due to Sabah and Sarawak. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Former foreign minister Anifah Aman wants the federal government to prove its goodwill towards Sabah and Sarawak by executing initial payments to the two states immediately.

In a press statement today, the Kimanis MP said the federal government should start negotiations now and that it should not just acknowledge the rights but also agree to return the rights.

“Execute initial payments to Sabah and Sarawak. Only then can methods and quantum of payment be negotiated further.

“This has to be done for the benefit of the people in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

He also welcomed the statement by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal who said the federal government should not take too long to return Sabah’s rights in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), including the return of 40% revenue “which was the basis of the establishment of this country 55 years ago”.

Under the Federal Constitution, Sabah is entitled to receive 40% of the net revenue derived by the federal government in the state.

“As a Sabahan and Kimanis MP, I am all for Shafie’s statement, as reported in the local media today,” Anifah said.

“I seek the support of other Sabah leaders to expedite and restore Sabah’s rights, as stipulated in MA63.

“I once again state that should the proposal be tabled in Parliament, I would support it 100% and seek the support of other Sabah leaders as well, regardless of political beliefs, as this is what we in Sabah and Sarawak have been fighting for,” he said.

He believed his other opposition colleagues from Sabah and Sarawak would be ready to unite and support all efforts to expedite the return of rights to Sabah and Sarawak, as long as this was in accordance with the MA63, for the prosperity and well-being of the people.

“The federal government should take the necessary steps to acknowledge the intent and spirit of MA63. This includes oil royalty and all other revenue due to us as well.

“They should not use the excuse of not having enough money to delay payments to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Yesterday, Shafie said the Sabah government hoped there would be no delay in the payment of special grants to Sabah as the state also had debts it needed to pay.