Penang is a sovereign state in the Federation of Malaysia and its legal position cannot be disputed, Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Ramkarpal Singh says.
Ramkarpal said that since British rule, Penang had been acknowledged as a straits state under the grouping known as the Straits Settlements.
"Subsequently, several agreements signed between Kedah and the British also clearly acknowledged Penang and Province Wellesley (mainland Penang) as a sovereign state.
"The agreements include the agreement between His Britannic Majesty’s government and the state of Kedah, 1923; the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 and the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957," he said in a statement, adding that Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s claim that Penang belonged to Kedah was baseless.
Sanusi was reported to have claimed that Kedah and Penang had no borders as Penang belonged to Kedah, and that Kedah had borders with only Perak and Perlis.
Ramkarpal said the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 clearly stated that Penang was a part of the Federated States of Malaya as a separate state from Kedah.
He said the formation of the Federated States of Malaya was based on the Federal Constitution of 1957, and that it was undeniable that Penang was acknowledged as a state under the Federated States of Malaya in Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
Furthermore, he said, Article 71(1) of the Federal Constitution, read together with Schedule Eight of the constitution, also guarantees every state has its own state constitution that provides ways to manage the state government, including Penang.
"In addition, there are other provisions in the Federal Constitution that state that Penang has been a sovereign state since the formation of the Federated States of Malaya and the Federation of Malaysia.
"No objection was ever raised by any party, including the Kedah government, that Penang was owned by Kedah," he said.
As such, he added, the Federal Constitution, which is the highest law of the country, must be respected by all Malaysians.