KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Any votes for Opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the upcoming Penang state elections would amount to voting in support of Penang being given back to Kedah against the wishes of Penangites, DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng claimed today.
Lim, who is also a former Penang chief minister, cited caretaker Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor's alleged remarks on wanting Penang to “return” to Kedah.
Lim, who is Bagan MP, stressed that Penang is now a sovereign state and no longer part of Kedah.
“Whilst no one questions Penang’s history that was once part of Kedah, historians and constitutional experts reaffirm that the Conference of Rulers, including the Kedah Sultan, and the Federal Constitution both validates and verifies Penang as a sovereign state in Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.
Lim claimed that Sanusi's alleged suggestion to amend the Federal Constitution to return Penang to Kedah was inflammatory, illegal and seditious.
Lim claimed that Sanusi's alleged push for Penang to be returned was not in Kedah's interests as the latter politician knows that Penang's sovereign status is “already a constitutional fact and actual reality that cannot be altered or varied”.
Lim accused Sanusi of using the Penang issue as a tactic to distract Kedah residents' attention from alleged governance failures such as uninterrupted clean water supply, and the providing of business and work opportunities for a better life for them.
“For this reason, Penangites must turn up fully to vote in the coming state elections for good governance and to live a better life as well as defend, protect and preserve the sovereignty of Penang,” Lim said, urging them to support the unity government and vote against PN in Penang's state polls.
“A vote for PN in Penang is a vote to extinguish Penang and forcibly return to Kedah against the wishes of Penangites,” Lim claimed.
Sanusi, who is also PN's election director, had earlier this month denied wanting to reclaim Penang for Kedah and claimed that he merely wanted to negotiate with the federal government for more payment to Kedah over the alleged lease of the state’s land to Penang.
National news agency Bernama had in 2015 previously reported that the Kedah sultanate had leased Penang island to the British in 1791 for 6,000 Spanish Dollars and Seberang Perai in 1800 for 4,000 Spanish Dollars, and that the federal government had continued to pay RM10,000 annually to Kedah after the states of then Malaya gained independence.
In 2018, the Cabinet agreed that the federal government would continue the RM10,000 annual payment to Kedah, but would also make an additional special contribution of RM10 million annually — starting from 2018 and with the additional amount to be reviewed once every 10 years or within a suitable timeframe.
In October 2021, Sanusi was reported demanding that Kedah be paid RM100 million every year for the alleged “lease” of its land to Penang, instead of the RM10 million that the federal government has been paying since 2018.