‘Unrealistic’, ‘thoughtless’ to federalise Penang, says MCA veep

Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun says turning Penang into a FT requires an amendment to the Federal Constitution, since Article 1(2) states that Malaysia is made up of 13 states. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun says turning Penang into a FT requires an amendment to the Federal Constitution, since Article 1(2) states that Malaysia is made up of 13 states. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 ― MCA senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun criticised today Umno minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor’s wish to turn several areas including Penang into Federal Territories (FT) as “unrealistic” and “thoughtless”, without any strong and compelling reason.

Chew who is also vice-president of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s Chinese party said turning Penang into a FT requires an amendment to the Federal Constitution, since Article 1(2) states that Malaysia is made up of 13 states.

“Besides fulfilling certain terms and conditions, turning an area into a FT may not be executed by merely a suggestion,” Chew said in a statement.

Chew said a two-thirds majority would be required for the amendment, and added that the ruling coalition currently lacks the numbers.

Tenglu Adnan’s idea has also never been discussed among the BN component parties, she said.

The senator said that each of the current FT has a distinct backgrond and condition, with Kuala Lumpur as the capital city, Putrajaya as the federal administrative centre, and Labuan as the offshore federal financial centre.

“In the case of Penang, referring back to KL, Labuan and Putrajaya, there is no strong and compelling reason to turn Penang into an FT. The proposal has stirred much controversy, which is unnecessary.

“Therefore, it is unrealistic for Tengku Adnan to turn Penang into an FT,” Chew said.

Despite that, Chew also chided DAP’s alleged overreaction towards the Federal Territories minister also known as Ku Nan, calling it ignorant and lacking integrity.

Tengku Adnan first voiced his wish to expand the existing federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya to include Penang, Langkawi in Kedah and unnamed parts of Malacca in a radio interview with BFM on February 1, marking Federal Territories Day.

He later added Pulau Tioman in Pahang to the list.                                                   

In an unexpected scathing response, Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the minister must have had a vision of pumping funds into the federal territories, but added that the latter can “dream on” about making the island state part of that expansion.

Penang MCA chief Tan Teik Cheng also said the minister “wasn’t very smart” to openly express his wish as it will only antagonise Penangites.