GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government strongly objected to a minister’s suggestion to turn the state into a Federal Territory, saying the move would threaten the unity of the Federation of Malaysia.
“We are not happy to give up our state. This is unacceptable. We will tell Adnan ‘Tidak, pu yao and mudiathu’,” Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said, translating the word “no” in Malay to Mandarin and Tamil during a press conference at his office in Komtar today.
Lim said this in response to a recent suggestion by Federal Territories (FT) Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that Penang, Langkawi Island and parts of Malacca be placed under the control of Putrajaya.
Adnan was reported to have said this in an interview on the business radio station BFM89.9 yesterday.
“I would like to expand the Federal Territories. If I can, I would take Langkawi, Penang, and certain parts of Malacca,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.
Adnan said it was highly likely the states would accept the induction, as they would have “more attention and more money poured into the territory”.
Meanwhile, Lim described Adnan as a “penakluk” (conqueror), saying the minister had not bothered to discuss his proposal with the affected states before making it public.
“It is pelik and sumbang. Jangan cuba lah (It is odd and inappropriate. Don’t even try.) Penangites will never be happy to become an extinct state (negeri yang pupus). This can be considered seditious.
“You threaten the integrity of Penang’s unity in Malaysia, you want to legislate Penang out.
“I do not want to be the last chief minister of Penang. There will be other CMs after me. I do not want to be a pembelot dan pengkhianat (traitor),” Lim said.
When asked if Adnan’s suggestion was a backdoor move to get executive power over the state, Lim said it was Adnan who should be asked that question.
“Some may think of that, but I do not want to speculate. He should answer. As for Penang, our answer is a big ‘no’,” Lim said.
Presently, there are three FTs – Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. The first two were formerly part of Selangor while Labuan was conceded by Sabah.
Kuala Lumpur, the former capital of Selangor, was made a FT in 1974. Labuan was made a FT in 1984 and later turned into an offshore financial centre, while Putrajaya was made a FT and has been the country’s administrative capital since 2001.
Penang acceded into the Federation of Malaya on Jan 31, 1948. Prior to that, the state was a British colony for more than a century.