Penang was never separated from Kedah, says Historical Society

31 May 2023 12:14am
Penang Bridge view from the shore of Georgetown. (Photo from 123rf)
Penang Bridge view from the shore of Georgetown. (Photo from 123rf)

ALOR SETAR - The Kedah branch of the Malaysian Historical Society reiterates its stand that Penang is a legitimate property of Kedah until today.

Its chairman Dr Ibrahim Bakar said the matter was clear from the historical aspect, stating that Penang had never even separated from Kedah to begin with.

He said Penang was part of Kedah from the start and had remained that way until the arrival of the British East India Company agent Francis Light.

“Since 1786, Penang was occupied by the British and there was the illegal occupation (first phase), a forced occupation (second phase) and a one-sided agreement of Sobering Perai (third phase). This was the start of Penang occupation.

"We admit that there is a lease and it is still being paid to Kedah until now. If it is assumed that the island is an item or a shop premises, while the item is what we are leasing, and if people are still paying the lease, then the legal owner does not need to be discussed," he told Sinar on Tuesday.

Ibrahim said there were various factual information explaining the occupation of Penang including the agreement clause involving the military to protect the Kedah waters.

However, he said the agreement was not only ignored by the British but also biased.

He said Penang and Seberang Perai was later made states according to the Federal Constitution despite the lease was still being paid.

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"When the Federal Constitution was made, the payment to Kedah was still ignored. Meaning, this issue was discussed but the Sultan of Kedah's right to Penang was taken into account.

"As a result, it was included in Clause 167.7. 'Law of Malaysia' is also bound by the Agreement of 1869. This means that Kedah's right to Penang was not released in the Federal Constitution even though at that time Penang was technically called a state," he said.

Ibrahim added that Penang was never separated from Kedah, but was only leased after the arrival of the British.

"By analogy, my shop is rented or leased to a certain party, so it still belongs to me not to mention continuous payments are paid to me,” he added.

Ibrahim said a lot of issues related to the Kedah-Penang claims should be clarified and reviewed.

In terms of history, he said Penang was never separated from Kedah but the Kedah-Penang issue needs to be reviewed in terms of legislation.