Time to review all federal-state ties, says Kit Siang

Lim Kit Siang said in over six decades of nation-building, there has been too much concentration of power in the hands of federal leaders.

PETALING JAYA: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has called for a review of federal and state relations to bring about greater decentralisation and autonomy from Putrajaya.

Following recent debates over the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Lim said the move would not only benefit Sabah and Sarawak but all states in the peninsula as well.

“There is no doubt that in over six decades of nation-building, there has been too much concentration of power in the hands of the federal government at the expense of the state governments,” he said in a statement.This trend must be reversed and proper equilibrium established.”

MA63 is the founding document for the formation of the federation of Malaysia – comprising Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore – in 1963. Singapore left the federation two years later.

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, when addressing the Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Convention in Penampang recently, had proposed a new “Malaysia agreement” as a more concrete way forward towards realising the state’s rights and demands enshrined in MA63.

However, law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar rubbished Mohamad’s proposal, calling it “nonsense”, while PBS president Maximus Ongkili suggested a supplementary deal to MA63 be considered to incorporate unfulfilled promises of the original agreement.

Lim said he was in agreement with Wan Junaidi as the agreement was a commitment that had been agreed upon by all parties for the formation of Malaysia. He added that Sabah and Sarawak did not wish to renegotiate the existing agreement but simply sought the fulfilment of promises that had yet to be delivered.

On a related matter, Lim referred to a statement previously made by former inspector-general of police Rahim Noor that the country may be “thrown into chaos” if the issue of religion gets too heate.

Rahim had said Sabah and Sarawak may reconsider being a part of Malaysia if such an issue persisted and noted that the country was never meant to be an Islamic state as the two states would never have agreed to it.

Lim said the former IGP’s warning should be heeded as it concerned principles of nation-building and was a fundamental term contained within MA63.

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