KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that it is “too much” to suggest that Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor is committing a crime for giving his view on the history of Penang.

In a Facebook post, Dr Mahathir said that it was he who asked Lim Guan Eng — when the latter was finance minister — to increase the RM10,000 lease that Penang pays to Kedah annually.

He then added that “he is not asking anyone to believe” him and that they may “take this story with a dollop of salt”.

“Historically, the Sultan of Kedah agreed for the British East India Company to take over the island on payment of 6,000 Spanish dollars a year.

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“Later, a strip of the mainland opposite was added for 4,000 Spanish dollars a year,” he wrote.

Dr Mahathir said that the historical agreement also required the British East India Company to help in the defence of Kedah if it was attacked by foreign countries, but the British later failed to honour this commitment.

“The agreement with regard to the ceding of Singapore was different. It was clearly a straightforward sale.

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“The British made a one-time payment of 60,000 Spanish dollars to the Temenggong,” he said.

Dr Mahathir’s comments come after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that authorities will be acting against Sanusi for claiming that Penang belonged to Kedah.

Sanusi had also suggested that the Federal Constitution be amended to reflect this claim.