GEORGE TOWN – A minister’s suggestion to make Penang a federal territory will not become a reality at all if the state government doesn’t approve it, the state’s Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said today.

Zainal who is also Penang Umno liaison chief also called for the state government not to overreact to Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s wish.

“For this suggestion to become a reality, the Federal Constitution needs to be amended and to do that, it needs a two-third majority votes in Parliament, it needs approval by the Conference of Rulers and lastly, it needs the Penang legislative assembly to approve it,” he told a news conference here.

Zainal said the minister’s desire won’t be met as the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) does not currently control two-thirds of Parliament.

He added that even if the federal lawmaking house did and was approved of by the Conference of Rulers, the state government can just reject the plan, which he noted it has been doing.

“If the state doesn’t agree, it ends there. The federal government can’t continue from there so I hope we stop this whole ‘I love Penang’ thing here. There was no issue at all,” Zainal said.

He also said he had met with Tengku Adnan who clarified that his wish only encompassed the island half of Penang and not its mainland side.

“To be fair to him, he only mentioned this as his hope for Penang; his hope to turn the island, not the whole state, to become a financial hub,” Zainal said.

He believed the minister had no ill intentions when he expressed his wish.

The Pakatan Harapan state government stridently opposed the idea after Tengku Adnan first raised it during a radio interview with BFM to mark Federal Territories Day on February 1.

The state government had also launched an “I love Penang” campaign complete with a logo design contest and a run, to get Penangites to express their support.

Apart from Penang, the minister had also expressed a desire to federalise the tourist island of Langkawi in Kedah and parts of Malacca, later adding Pulau Tioman in Pahang and a few other places in the country.

The Barisan Nasional Kedah government has also rejected the idea vehemently, while the other state governments have not been reported to have responded to the minister’s remarks.

– Malay Mail