KUALA LUMPUR – DAP lawmaker Liew Chin Tong made today four proposals to counter minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor’s suggestion to expand the Federal Territories which he labelled as a “power grab”.

The Kluang MP proposed abolishing the Federal Territories Ministry and forming a “state government” for Kuala Lumpur instead; abolishing Federal Action Councils in Penang, Selangor and Kelantan; getting rid of Federal Secretaries for Sabah and Sarawak; and returning Labuan to Sabah.

“Like all the other states in Malaysia, citizens who are also ratepayers in Kuala Lumpur deserve to have a second vote for their state government beyond voting for Members of Parliament,” Liew said in a statement.

He said the Federal Territories Ministry headed by Tengku Adnan, which was allocated with an RM1.16 billion budget this year, duplicated the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) work.

The Opposition lawmaker also noted that DBKL’s budget for 2017 is RM2.87 billion, making it the highest among sub-national governments in the peninsula except for Selangor (RM3.5 billion).

“Lest we forget, Kuala Lumpur was carved out from Selangor as a Federal Territory in 1974 for the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) political objective of disenfranchising the voters who were seen as inclined towards the Opposition.

“It is time to revisit that historical mistake. A state government with forty state seats can be a starting point for redesigning of our institutions,” said Liew.

Liew said the BN federal government formed Federal Action Councils to channel money and construction projects through BN politicians since PAS’ victory in Kelantan in 1990 and Pakatan’s victory in Penang and Selangor in 2008.

“Clearly, such bodies are back door political vehicles for Umno, thinly disguised as a government structure. It is a contempt of voters’ choice in these states during the election. They should be abolished,” he said.

The Kluang MP also said Sabah and Sarawak no longer needed Federal Secretaries to “watch over them”, like what British Residents and Advisors did during colonial times.

“The Office of Federal Secretary for Sabah runs a budget of RM 4.5 million in 2017 while for Sarawak the office costs RM 5.8 million. There is clearly no need of a British Resident-like position for Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Liew said Labuan should be returned to Sabah after its annexation in 1984, which he partly attributed to the fall of the Berjaya state government in 1985.

“In Malaysia’s ‘federal territory’, everything is run by the Umno-BN government, without any voice from the people, either the voters or the Opposition.

“For example, the mayor or ‘Datuk Bandar’ of DBKL is not elected, and therefore not answerable to the people, as he or she is appointed by the federal government,” said Liew.

– Malay Mail