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‘Huge milestone for Sabah’, says SLS ex-president on Court’s decision

Datuk Roger Chin… this leads to more equitable financial arrangement for Sabah, rectify decades of oversight and underfunding.

KOTA KINABALU – The Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the Sabah Law Society’s (SLS) judicial review proceedings on Sabah’s 40% revenue entitlement is a significant milestone for the state, said SLS former president Datuk Roger Chin.

Chin said that the judicial review will examine whether the federal and state governments have fulfilled their constitutional duties regarding the Special Grant under Article 112C and the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. 

He said it will specifically address the “Lost Years”, a period from 1974 to 2021 during which Sabah’s entitlements were allegedly neglected.

“For Sabah, this decision represents a significant milestone in the quest for justice and constitutional recognition.

“The outcome of this review could lead to a more equitable financial arrangement for Sabah, potentially rectifying decades of oversight and underfunding. It signifies a reaffirmation of Sabah’s rights within the federation, potentially fostering a stronger sense of autonomy and partnership within Malaysia,” he told Scoop today.

Chin said he felt a profound sense of validation and optimism following the development today, saying that it reinforced the importance of judicial oversight in matters of public interest and constitutional significance.

“It acknowledged the legitimacy of the SLS’s concerns and affirms their right to seek judicial review on behalf of the people of Sabah. This decision is a crucial step towards ensuring that the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 are respected and implemented in their entirety,” he said.

Describing the best possible outcome for the proceedings, Chin said he hoped the judicial review would culminate in a landmark ruling that not only rectifies the financial disparities experienced by Sabah but also sets a precedent for greater accountability and transparency in federal-state relations.

“The best-case scenario would be a decision that mandates the payment of the 40% entitlement to Sabah, addressing the ‘Lost Years’ and ensuring future compliance with the constitutional provisions.

“This would not only benefit Sabah economically but also bolster the trust and cooperation between Sabah and the federal government.

“Ideally, this outcome would pave the way for more robust and equitable development policies, ultimately improving the quality of life for the people of Sabah and reinforcing the integrity of the Malaysian federation,” he said.

In June 2022, Chin was the president of SLS when the body filed a leave application for a judicial review, naming the federal government and Sabah state government as the first and second respondents, respectively.

Earlier today, the Court of Appeal upheld the position of the high court in granting leave to the SLS to proceed with the substantive hearing of its judicial review regarding the 40% special grant provided under the Federal Constitution.

This would mean that SLS’s judicial review proceedings will commence. This allows the Sabah legal body fight to secure recognition and fulfilment of the 40% entitlement enshrined in Articles 112C and 112D of the Federal Constitution, alongside Section 2 of Part IV of the 10th Schedule. – scoop com

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