Penang recognised as a state in 1957 Malaya Federation Agreement

01 Jun 2023 03:55pm
Penang Bridge view from the shore of Georgetown. - (Photo from 123rf)
Penang Bridge view from the shore of Georgetown. - (Photo from 123rf)

SHAH ALAM - The 1957 Malaya Federation Agreement clearly states that Penang is to become a part of the Malaya federation as a state separated from Kedah.

The National Professors Council (Political, Governance and Law Cluster) member Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod said through the agreement enshrined in the Federal Constitution, Penang is recognised as a state in the Peninsular.

"It must be understood that in this context Penang is not part of Kedah because the 1957 Malaya Federation Agreement established there were 11 states in the Peninsular.

"If Penang was a part of Kedah that would count as 10 states (in the Peninsular) and from a constitutional perspective (claim that Penang belongs to Kedah) this is incorrect.

"Penang stands alone as a state just like Kedah," he told Sinar on Wednesday.

He said such when asked to comment on Kedah and Penang's position that sparked controversy.

This follows Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor's statement which claimed that Kedah and Penang had no borders as Penang was still under Kedah's rights.

Sanusi at the same time claimed Kedah only had borders with Perak and Perlis.

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Kamal who is also a Law and Constitution Lecturer at Taylor University Malaysia said the statement issued by Sanusi was seen as more of a political rhetoric.

"The rhetoric issue has been expressed by many parties before, so I don't see what the Kedah Menteri Besar (Sanusi) stated it as correct from a constitutional perspective," he explained.

Prime Minister's Department (Laws and Institutional Reform) deputy minister Ramkarpal Singh in a statement on Tuesday said Sanusi's claims that Penang belonged to Kedah was considered baseless.

He said the matter should not become an issue as it was clear since the British colonialism era that Penang has been recognised as one of the Straits States under the coalition known as the Straits Settlements.

Meanwhile in Georgetown, Penang Malay Heritage Trust Organisation (Pewaris) president Tan Sri Mohd Yussof Latiff said Sanusi's statement proved it was made without thorough research.

"Sanusi's words show a lack of research or deliberately seen as too clever to gain voters' sympathy in the upcoming state election.

"In that regard I suggest a dialogue ceremony be held between Pewaris, Penang Malay Association (Pemenang and Sanusi on an agreed date by all parties," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Yussof said sources from the Seberang Perai Tengah District and Land Office (SPT) state Penang-Kedah Seberang Perai border was created through an agreement on May 6, 1869 between the British and Siamese.

"For the SPT district, Batu Sempadan Lama started near Kampung Perenggan and Kampung Lalang towards the Junjong area, following the map in 1931 there are six miles in total," he explained.

He added from a Malaysian Constitution (Kedah and Penang-Boundary Amendment Act 1985) standpoint, the Kedah-Penang border exists and is defined by Act 325.

"It has been agreed that a portion of the borders between Kedah and Penang throughout Muda River was changed to throughout the centre line of Muda River.

"As this river flowed just before the enforcement of this act, the change to the boundaries indicated in the plan is reserved as identified in accordance with the Gazette Plan No PW 1000 to PW 1008," he added