Customs tax collections belong to Sabah – Jeffrey
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 2: Opposition party, STAR Sabah has urged the state government to demand that the federal government to return 40% of the RM772 million net revenue collected by Customs and Excise Department from Sabah in 2013.
Party leader and state assembly representative Jeffrey Kitingan said this was a requirement in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
He was commenting on the recent disclosure by the department that it had made a ‘profit’ of RM772 million “profits” from the RM837 million collected from Sabah in 2013.
“While the arrangements for the return of the net 2013 collections are being worked out, the federal government should also work out the net revenue to be returned from the RM820 million collected from Sabah in 2012,” Kitingan added.
He said Sabah is entitled to 40% of the net revenue collected from Sabah as agreed during the formation of Malaysia in 1963 and which was set out in the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
He noted that if based on the same RM65 million operating expenditure, the Sabah Customs would have made another “profit” of RM755 million in 2012.
“Forty percent of RM772 million and RM755 million is still a sizeable RM610.8 million, about 16% of the projected 2014 state revenue which can be useful for programmes to alleviate the poverty of the rural villagers in Sabah which make up some 40% of all the poor in Malaysia.
“It would be a nice Ang pow for the people in the current Chinese New Year festivities although the money legitimately belongs to Sabah,” he said.
With the disclosure, the assemblyman for Bingkor has put all six federal ministers and four deputies from Sabah in an awkward position when the next weekly federal cabinet meeting is held.
Failure to bring up the issue would mean they were mere rubber stamps of federal policy.
Sabah MPs must compel Putrajaya
The ministers concerned are Shafie Apdal, Anifah Aman, Maximus Ongkili, Joseph Kurup, Rahman Dahlan and Ewon Ebin while the Deputy Ministers are Rosnah Shirlin, Abdul Rahim Bakri, Mary Yap and Azizah Mohd Dun.
“At the same time, all the 25 MPs from Sabah, be they be from Umno, PBS, UPKO, PBRS, DAP or PKR, should also demand for this 40% entitlement in the parliament when the next sitting starts on 10 March 2014,” he added.
Kitingan also hoped that Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman and his cabinet ministers and their deputies would be brave enough to follow through on the demand.
“If the federal government fails to return the 40% of the net Customs Sabah collections for 2012 and 2013, it would be another loss of Sabah’s rightful revenue, another failure of the federation of Malaysia. It would be another reason for Sabahans to re-consider Sabah’s position in Malaysia,” he said.
Kitingan also urged the people of Sabah to constantly and closely monitor and evaluate the performance of their elected representatives to ensure that they are committed to the task of representing them and the rights of Sabah.
source: Free Malaysia Today