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Explain May 16 fiasco even after U-turn on 40% revenue rights review, ex-CM tells Sabah govt

Publish date: Fri, 24 May 2024, 09:17 PM

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government must still explain the fiasco on May 16 despite withdrawing its legal challenge to a judicial review bid on the state's rights to 40% revenue, says a former chief minister.

Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee said there was a need for answers over the Court of Appeal hearing the Sabah Law Society's (SLS) bid on the state's 40% entitlement to the core of governance and the protection of Sabah rights.

"An official confirmation from the Sabah Attorney General's Chambers is desperately needed to state and explain the status of lawyer Fuad (Tengku Datuk Fuad Ahmad)," he said.

On May 16, the Sabah government threw a surprise when it intervened in the Federal Attorney General's appeal against the High Court decision to grant SLS leave to challenge the 40% Special Interim Grant provisions.

The state government, represented by Fuad, argued that the rights of the Sabah government under the Federal Constitution would be negatively affected if it was excluded from the hearing.

Fuad’s arguments to block SLS from being granted leave for judicial review and on Articles 112C and 112D of the Federal Constitution as "aspirational" and not "mandatory or absolute right" triggered a public outcry and political storm in Sabah.

There were calls for the state AG to resign from both sides of the political divide over the handling of the case.

Following the backlash, Sabah Attorney General Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof had earlier on Friday (May 24) informed the court that they were not appealing the High Court decision to give leave to SLS in the case and that Fuad's services had been terminated.

Yong said the question of who authorised Fuad to represent Sabah on May 16 has yet to be answered.

"What is the status of Fuad now? Where has the AG been, particularly on the crucial day of May 16? Why was no lawyer from the AG Chambers present with Fuad at the Court of Appeal on May 16?" Yong asked.

He said Asiah's retraction on the submissions by Fuad was merely "damage control".

"The Sabah people deserve clear explanations and answers. We cannot fast forward from May 16 to May 24 as though nothing happened in between," he said.

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