From P Ramasamy
The Kedah state government is inviting historians, academicians and others to prove the point that Penang was leased from Kedah by the British then for a sum of money in Spanish dollars.
Kedah menteri besar Muhammed Sanusi Md Nor said that if Penang was not leased from Kedah, why had the federal government been paying initially RM10,000 and then later RM10 million to Kedah.
No government will pay such an amount without a historical basis, he claimed.
Strangely, rather than ascertaining the truth whether Penang was sold or leased to the British by the Kedah Sultanate, the Kedah government is trying to prove the point that Penang was indeed leased from Kedah.
This method to prove a point is nothing but subjective.
I wonder whether the professionals engaged in this project will simply try to do something that might be even contrary to the facts.
Sanusi has already made up his mind about the lease but merely wants this to be endorsed by a team of experts to give it legitimacy.
What if Penang was not leased but sold by Kedah to the British? Will the team of experts be brave enough to say this?
No right-minded experts will join this team to work in the political interest of the PAS-led government in Kedah.
Would the team report their findings without fear or favour? Will their selection be determined by their loyalty to the Kedah government or their work ethics?
It is sad that Sanusi, by engaging the professionals, thinks that they will report findings in favour of the Kedah government.
Even if they prove the point that Penang was leased to the British, then the team must consider whether the Kedah sultanate had sovereignty then.
But history points out that the Kedah sultanate was a vassal state of Siam. Penang was indeed the vassal state of Siam, rather than Kedah.
If this was the case, how could Kedah say it had sovereignty over the two parts of Penang?
There is evidence to indicate that Penang was unofficially ceded to the British by the Kedah sultanate in return for protection against Siamese invasion.
Later attempts by Kedah to take over Penang from the British were rebuffed by the military might of the colonial power.
The federal government should clarify why it is paying an annual stipend to Kedah — is it due to the fact that Kedah had sovereignty over Penang or is the stipend meant to financially assist Kedah?
If the federal government thinks that Penang was the former vassal state of Kedah, then something is clearly wrong.
In fact, the federal government cannot distort historical facts to please the Kedah government.
P Ramasamy is a Penang deputy chief minister.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.