The Malaysia Agreement
KOTA KINABALU: Former Petagas assemblyman Datuk James Ligunjang said it is time for Sabah to play by the book on its demand for the 40 per cent entitlement net revenue derived by the federal government from the state.
He said the issue of Sabah’s 40 per cent entitlement as provided for under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 was a longstanding grievance that has remained unresolved for the past 60 years.
“Ever since Sabah joined Malaysia in 1963, it was promised of the entitlement from the Federal Government,” he said in a statement Sunday.
He pointed out that this promise has never been fully fulfilled, and it is now time to address this matter and ensure that the entitlement is granted without any compromises.
He added that, it was important to understand the historical context behind this issue. Sabah, located on the north of Borneo is rich in natural resources.
The federal government recognized this potential and made a commitment to allocate 40 per cent of these resources to Sabah, aiming to develop the state and improve the livelihoods of its people.
“Unfortunately, this commitment has not been fully honoured, and Sabah has been denied its fair share of the resources it possesses,” Ligunjang said.
According to him, the consequences of this unfulfilled entitlement were significant. Sabah has suffered from inadequate infrastructure development, underfunded education and healthcare systems, and a lack of economic opportunities for its people.
The state’s potential has not been fully realized due to the lack of equitable resource allocation. This has resulted in a disparity between Sabah and the more developed states within Malaysia.
“Playing by the book means adhering to the agreements and promises made when Sabah became part of Malaysia in 1963. It is essential to ensure that Sabah’s entitlement is fulfilled in its entirety,” he said.
This would require the federal government to allocate the promised 40 per cent share of all its income derived from Sabah. This allocation should be based on transparent and fair mechanisms that prioritize the development and well-being of the state and its people.
“There should be no compromises in addressing this issue,” the former state lawmaker said.
Ligunjang said for too long, Sabah has been denied its rights and opportunities for growth. It is time for the federal government to rectify this injustice and fulfil its obligations.
A fair and equitable distribution of resources would empower Sabah to develop its economy, improve infrastructure, and provide better services to its residents.
Furthermore, fulfilling Sabah’s entitlement would contribute to a more inclusive and balanced Malaysia. It would show that the federal government values and respects all its states equally, fostering unity and harmony among the nation.
“Neglecting Sabah’s entitlement not only undermines the principle of fairness but also raises concerns about the integrity of the Malaysia Agreement, which binds the states of Sabah, Sarawak, and Malaya together,” Ligunjang said.
The unfulfilled 40 per cent entitlement of Sabah is a matter that needs urgent attention and resolution. It is imperative to play by the book and ensure that no compromises are made in addressing this issue.
By granting Sabah its fair share of resources, the state will be able to unleash its potential, bridge the development gap, and contribute to a more prosperous and united Malaysia.