By TK Chua
In conjunction with Federal Territory Day, Tengku Adnan has made a few suggestions and allegations that if not rebutted, could cause unease and ill will among the people.
I think there are limits and a decorum that politicians must observe when indulging in politicking.
Where is the spirit of the federation, the constitution, and democracy when a federal minister could simply ask that a “full-fledged” state of the federation be made a federal territory over policy differences?
I wonder what would happen if the same suggestion were made by an opposition politician of another state? Would the people of that state leave him or her alone? Would that politician be investigated for his/her anti-democracy and anti-federation behaviour?
I am not saying the Penang state government is perfect. Like all governments, uneven development, marginalisation or neglect of certain communities or sectors is bound to happen.
But as a multiracial and multi-religious country, I think it is very damaging for a federal minister to make such allegations without thinking of their unintended consequences. More so, Penang is deemed governed by a “non-Malay” and “non-Muslim” government. As I said earlier, there should be limits to politicking.
Maybe the minister concerned would want to tell us in which part of the country is there are no uneven development, marginalisation and neglect on certain communities and sectors.
Did the Federal Territory of KL, established since 1972 and ruled by the same government since, have uneven development? Were the Malays in KL treated better than those in Penang? Did they get housing more easily than those in Penang? How did DBKL care for the Malays more than the government of Penang? What did the Malays in KL get that the Malays in Penang did not get?
The development of a state or region is the product of many factors – the enterprise of the people, the geographical location, and the trade, commerce and industrial opportunities there. The government at most can only play a facilitating or catalyst role.
Please do not for a minute think that KL is richer and more developed because “the government of KL” is more effective or better than other governments. Sometimes we are just mediocre, operating in a good and conducive environment. We should never ever forget that.
By the way, Tengku Adnan should also ask: Are the Malays in Kelantan marginalised and deprived of their oil royalties? Would Tengku Adnan suggest that part of Kelantan be made a federal territory? We drink water, we must know the source. Don’t be smug.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.