Sabah Law Society files judicial review on federal grant

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Law Society (SLS) has filed for a judicial review to overturn Putrajaya’s gazettement of an annual grant for Sabah as it is not in line with the state’s revenue rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

The judicial review application was filed against the Malaysian Government at the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak here on Thursday (June 9) by SLS lawyers Messrs J Marimuttu & Partners.

The suit comes after the Federal Government gazetted a special five-year annual grant of RM125.6mil for Sabah from this year on April 24.

According to media statements released by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, the state government agreed to the grant on a non-binding basis and assured that the state would continue to pursue the 40% state revenue rights from the Federal Government.

In the suit, SLS is seeking to be granted leave to apply for an order of certiorari to the High Court to quash the gazette publication dated April 20, 2022.

According to court documents, SLS argued that the special grant was not done in accordance with the constitutional provisions for the revenue due to the state under the Federal Constitution.

They are also seeking for the court to compel the Federal Government to carry out the second review of the special grants for Sabah as it was not done with the Sabah government since 1974.

The SLS claimed that it was a breach and contravention of its constitutional duty stipulated under Article 112D, Clauses (1), (3) and (4) of the Federal Constitution as Sabah was entitled to 40% of revenue earned from the state.

“That a failure to pay the 40% entitlement by the Federal Government to Sabah for each consecutive financial year for the period from the year 1974 to the year 2021 is a breach of the fundamental right to property to the State Government of Sabah and ultimately of the people of Sabah as enshrined under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution,” read the court papers.

The SLS is seeking an order of mandamus directed to the Federal Government to hold another review with the state government of Sabah under the provisions of Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

This is to give effect to the payment of the 40% entitlement under Article 112C read with subsection (1) of section 2 of Part IV of the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution for each consecutive financial year for the period from 1974 to 2021 within 30 days and to reach a decision within 90 days from the date the court orders.

On June 3, 12 Sabah Pakatan Harapan lawmakers had also filed a claim in the High Court to seek Sabah’s rights to its entitlement for the return of 40% of federal revenue from the state.