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Persuit of State’s rights under MA63 is very much alive: Anifah

Anifah…the MA63 issue brings all Sabahans together despite our differences.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government’s “uncompromising and absolute position” on its pursuit of all the state rights due under MA63 and the Federal Constitution reassures Sabahans that the fight is still very much alive, says Senator Tan Sri Anifah Aman.

This comes after what was widely described as a “blunder” on the part of the state government during a judicial review on Sabah’s constitutional right to the 40 per cent revenue at the Court of Appeal, last week.

“Objectively, the said blunder has brought about something very positive. The one clear message is that Sabah is not backing down even an inch.”

“The words used by the Chief Minister in his statement are loud and clear,” the Sabah Chief Minister’s Special Advisor on International Relations and Foreign Investment said.

“While we must learn from what has happened, from the mistakes made, let us also build on our strength, ” Anifah added.

“Personally, I see that the MA63 issue brings all Sabahans together despite our differences. This is what makes us strong,” he said in a statement on Tuesday

Anifah, who served as foreign minister from 2009 to 2018, was a leading figure in taking the MA63 into mainstream politics during the rule of the Barisan Nasional government. He was amongst the co-founder of the MySabah group and pushed for the creation of an MA63 review panel.

Then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak consented, and the committee was formed with Anifah co-chairing it along with then law minister Datuk Nancy Shukri from Sarawak.

In 2018, he quit from his former party, Umno, citing the party and BN’s failure to keep the MA63 promise as reason.

“I stress that I want the people of Sabah to receive equal treatment (as other citizens) and full rights, without any delays and excuses… MA63 is the beginning point of the formation of the federation we know as Malaysia today,” Anifah was quoted as saying at the time.

Anifah is now president of Parti Cinta Sabah.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has categorically confirmed that Sabah will never give up its fundamental constitutional rights in relation to the 40 per cent net revenue special grant under Articles 112C and 112D of the Federal Constitution.

He said this was a financial entitlement of the state and “very much more than an aspiration.

In last Thursday’s appeal
proceeding, the last-minute entry of the state government as an “intervener” saw the lawyer representing the state AG’s office, Tengku Fuad Ahmad, questioning the locus standi of the Sabah Law Society in seeking a review of the state’s 40 per cent revenue entitlement.

Fuad had said that Article 112C of the Federal Constitution is “not a mandatory or absolute right” and that “the 40 per cent special grant revenue was an aspirational article, designed for something to work towards rather than an absolute right under mandamus.”
The state, however, dismissed the assertions.

The state Attorney-General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof, who is facing calls from various parties to resign over the handling of the matter, had assured her office will take measures to correct its lawyer’s “misguided statements”.

“The State Attorney-General’s Chambers will take necessary measures to correct any misguided statement that deviates from the state’s clear and formal position,” she said in her statement.

In the meantime, Anifah appealed for calm so that the issue can be dealt with in the best interest of the state and the people.

“Whatever actions and decisions we make must be in the best interest of Sabah and the people.

“Our journey in pursuing our rights has been a long one. Who knows when we will ever achieve our goals. But it’s not wise for us to be divided and make a public enemy of certain parties at any point of this journey. We’re all in this together,” he said.

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