KUALA LUMPUR – The Federal Constitution does not allow for an entire state to be made into a federal territory, the director of a state-linked think tank said today.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, director of the Institute for Malaysian Political Analysis, Universiti Utara Malaysia, said Article 1(2) of the country’s supreme law clearly outlined Penang as part of the 13 sovereign states, as he deemed Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor’s proposal to expand the Federal Territories as a “waste of time”.

Kamarul also pointed out that while Article 2(b) states that Parliament may redraw state boundaries, it must do so with the consent of the affected state and the Conference of Rulers.

“Therefore, it is clear from the Federal Constitution that only certain parts and not the entire state can be federalised…but even so, it must be done according to a strict procedure,” he said in a statement.

“So to me, this issue should not be prolonged because it’s creating a pointless debate when focus should be given on other pressing matters,” he added.

Kamarul said Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was right in saying that the proposal by the Federal Territories minister was unconstitutional.

Tengku Adnan had first announced his desire to expand the Federal Territories to include Penang, the island of Langkawi in Kedah and parts of Malacca in a radio interview with business news station BFM on February 1, in conjunction with Federal Territories Day. He later reportedly added that Tioman in Pahang should also be federalised.

One of the reasons for the proposal was to help elevate the status of Penang’s Malays, which the Umno leader claimed have been neglected by the state’s DAP administration. The DAP have rubbished the allegation.

Kamarul said while Tengku Adnan’s intention was “laudable”, the minister should immediately retract his proposal since it is inconceivable.

According to the political analyst, the best way for Umno and Barisan Nasional to try and help the Malays in the island state was to focus their energy on recapturing the state.

“Therefore, it is best if political leaders research the viability of their proposals to avoid tainting their own credibility,” he said, noting further that this was not the first time Tengku Adnan had made an “absurd” proposal.

The Umno leader recently courted harsh criticism when he proposed the ban of underbone motorcycles from entering Kuala Lumpur.

The vehicle, known popularly as kap chais, is a popular means of transportation for the country’s working class.

– Malay Mail