KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri co-chaired the second National Steering Committee meeting on the Devolution of Powers to Sabah and Sarawak, recently.
The results of the meeting are positive for Sabah’ said Anifah when asked about whether the various issues surrounding the return of Sabah’s rights under the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 can be resolved, Anifah said.
‘The Federal Attorney General, has confirmed and agreed that the constitutional review of Sabah’s 40% (2/5ths) Special Grant under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution must proceed. This is a very big step forward since the last review was due in 1974 but never took place.’
According to him, under Article 112D it is mandatory for Sabah’s 40% (2/5ths) Special Grant to be reviewed every five years. Sabah’s Special Grant is provided for in Part IV of the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
‘The constitutional review is an administrative and budgetary process. It is not political. What will happen now is for officials from both the Federal and Sabah Finance Ministries to sit down and work out the numbers,” he stated adding that the Sabah Cabinet has already considered and approved a sum which represents 2/5th of Federal Revenues derived from Sabah.
“It is now for both sides to sit down and negotiate the final sum which is subject to the financial position of the Federation as well as the needs of the State of Sabah,” he said.
“I also note that no other Prime Minister other than Dato Seri Najib has even considered reviewing Sabah’s 2/5th Special Grant. In fact I know of one Prime Minister who used the old ISA to imprison Sabahans who brought it up and fought for Sabah rights. Sabahans must therefore be grateful to Dato Seri Najib for his sincerity in seeing that Sabah’s rights are properly restored.”
Also on the agenda was the delegation to Sabah of gas and electricity production, generation and distribution.
“From what I am advised, Sabah prior to the Borneo States (Revocation) Order 1983 had power and control over electricity and gas production, works, distribution and related activities. However, in 1983 this power was returned to the Federal government and the delegation of the same revoked.”
Now that the Federal government and Sabah agree to the delegation of legislative power to Sabah over electricity and gas production, works, distribution and related activities, the next step to take must be to enact and adopt a new Constitutional Order pursuant to Article 95C of the Federal Constitution, he elaborated.
“Ideally, the draft Order should be drafted swiftly for Sabah’s consideration the contents of which, must meet with the approval of our State Attorney-General, Puan Zaleha Rose,” Anifah observed.
Both of these outcomes – the 112D 40% Special Grant Review and the return of electricity and gas production and distribution powers – are extremely positive for the State of Sabah and will further enhance the development and wellbeing of Sabahans.
Other matters arising at the Meeting were the issues relating to the Territorial Seas Act 2012, Stamp Duty as well as oil exploration and extraction rights arising under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (‘PDA’) and the various State laws with which the PDA must operate.
On stamp duty the matter will be referred to the National Finance Council. It was also suggested that matters arising under the PDA should be referred to the National Petroleum Council for deliberation.
Also present during the event were the Federal Attorney General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali as well as representatives from the Federal and State Governments of Sabah and Sarawak.-pr/BNN