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Saturday, February 26, 2011

MISCONCEPTION OF AN ASYMMETRIC FEDERATION


By: DANIL DAUD

LETS look at Deputy President of CigMa or Common Interest Group Malaysia, Daniel John Jambun's who declared Sabah as‘Nation, not state; status for Sabah’.

While allegations of legitimization the vast number of transition population in the state is for politicians and the various NGOs to sought out . Let us however look further into the other aspects of Jambun's speech particularly where he touches on the formation of Malaysia. Clearly here, a misconception of an asymmetric/symmetric federation or/and extreme case of an asymmetric federation warrants deliberation.

In a federation the component states are known as in some sense sovereign, insofar as certain powers are reserved to them that may not be exercised by the central government. However, a federation is more than a mere loose alliance of independent states. The component states of a federation usually possess no powers in relation to foreign policy and so they enjoy no independent status under international law.

Some federations are called asymmetric because some states have more autonomy than others.

Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation in which different constituent states possess different powers: one or more of the states has considerably more autonomy than the other substates, although they have the same constitutional status.

The division of powers between substates is not symmetric. This is in contrast to a symmetric federation, where no distinction is made between constituent states. As a result, it is frequently proposed as a solution to the dissatisfactions that arise when one or two constituent units feel significantly different needs from the others, as the result of an ethnic, linguistic or cultural difference.

An asymmetric federation is similar to a federacy where a state where one of the substates enjoys considerably more independence than the others. The difference between an asymmetric federation and federacy is indistinct; a federacy is essentially an extreme case of an asymmetric federation, either due to large differences in the level of autonomy, or the rigidity of the constitutional arrangements.

An asymmetric federation however has to have a federal constitution and all states in federation have the same formal status (state), while in a federacy independent substate has a different status (autonomous region).

A federacy is a form of government that shares features of both a federation and unitary state. In a federacy, at least one of the constituent parts of the state is autonomous, while the majority of constituent parts are either not autonomous or comparatively less autonomous.

An example of such an arrangement is Finland, where Åland, which has the status of autonomous province, has considerably more autonomy than the other provinces. The autonomous constituent part enjoys independence as though it was part of federation, while the other constituent parts are as independent as subunits in a unitary state.

This autonomy is guaranteed in the country's constitution. The autonomous subunits are often former colonial possessions or are home to a different ethnic group as the rest of the country. These autonomous subunits often have a special status in international relations. - sabahkini

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